Mumbai Indians (MI) Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan has given a huge update on the fitness of all-rounder Hardik Pandya ahead of their clash with Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the ongoing UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021).
Hardik Pandya, who hadn’t bowled at all during Mumbai Indians’ IPL 2020 title-winning run in the UAE last season, only began to bowl a bit against England at home earlier this year. He wasn’t picked for the England Test tour but was part of the Sri Lanka white-ball tour under Shikhar Dhawan‘s captaincy, where he bowled his full quota of overs in T20I matches.
However, he missed the first two matches of the MI team in UAE, both of which the twice defending champions have lost, slipping to the sixth spot in the IPL 2021 points table.
He Has Started Practicing: Zaheer Khan On Hardik Pandya’s Fitness
MI’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene did confirm that Hardik Pandya had a niggle and hence his workload and fitness was being managed by the MI team management keeping in mind that Hardik has been picked in the India squad for the T20 World Cup 2021 tournament as well, which will also be played in UAE and Oman from October 17.
The MI will be facing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on September 25, 2021, and the MI director of cricket operations in a virtual press conference gave an update on the Baroda all-rounder’s fitness.
“Well, we have a practice session lined up today and we will see how it goes, and then we will take a call. He has started practicing, that is what I can share with you guys, we hope that he will be fit and fine available for the clash against RCB,” Zaheer told ANI.
BCCI selection panel chairman Chetan Sharma had said during the team selection that Hardik Pandya was picked based on his fitness and that he will also be bowling his full quota of four overs in the T20 World Cup 2021 for the Indian team.
“Hardik is fit and he will bowl the full quota of his overs. We have Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, so that was the main point, if the wickets are turning, then you have Axar and Jadeja with you,” Chetan Sharma, India’s chief selector, had said after the team selection.