Less than two and a half weeks before India begin their campaign at the T20 World Cup with a Super 12 fixture against arch-rivals Pakistan, vice-captain Rohit Sharma indicated, there is still no clarity whether Hardik Pandya will be seen bowling or not?
Rohit, who leads Hardik in IPL with the Mumbai Indians (MI), revealed that the premier all-rounder is not 100% bowling fit even as the Indian squad is about to reassemble soon ahead of the much-awaited Pakistan encounter on October 24 in Dubai.
MI skipper said even though Hardik has been working extensively with the MI physios and medical staff, it remains uncertain as to when exactly he will be back to bowling duties for the T20 World Cup.
Rohit Sharma unsure when Hardik Pandya will be back bowling
“In terms of his bowling, he [Hardik] hasn’t bowled yet. So, the physios, the trainers, the medical team is working on his bowling. As of now, all I know is, he hasn’t bowled a single ball yet. But we wanted to take one game at a time and see where he stands,” Rohit said at the post-match press conference after MI’s last game of IPL 2021 on Friday (October 8).
“He didn’t bowl today as well, but he’s getting better day by day. So, in the next week or so, he might be able to bowl – only the doctors or the physios will be able to give an update on that,” he added.
Rohit’s words don’t help the concerns around Hardik Pandya’s rehab and recovery. The fast bowling all-rounder has now gone two full seasons of IPL without rolling his arm over and has only bowled occasionally for India since his comeback to the game from a lower back surgery in September 2020.
What piles on the worry for India is that this period has coincided with a decline in batting returns as well for Hardik, who made only 127 runs in IPL 2021 from his 12 matches at an average of 14.11 and 113.39. The aggressive right-hander struggled to consistently hit the ball off the square in the end-overs whenever pacers nailed their hard lengths.
Aware of the same, Rohit said Hardik will be “disappointed” with his performance. But the MI captain and India teammate believes it’s a rough patch that a “quality player” like him will be able to get over soon.
“As far as Hardik’s batting is concerned, yes he will be a little disappointed. But he’s a quality player, there’s no doubt about that, and he has come back from tough situations before as well. Personally, for him, he will not be happy with his batting,” he concluded.
India desperately need Hardik Pandya to be fit and firing at the T20 World Cup where they look to reclaim their crown in the game’s shortest format for the first time since 2007.