Star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s bowling fitness has given the selection committee worries. Perhaps there could even be a change in the squad which was picked last month.
Hardik Pandya didn’t bowl a single ball during the entire IPL 2021 for Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma, the MI skipper, said that the allrounder was “getting better day by day”, but only the medical team will be able to give the final update on his bowling fitness.
Hardik Pandya, who had a disappointing IPL season with the bat too, remains a crucial cog of India’s line-up. India have picked only three front-line pacers – Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami – in their T20 World Cup squad. For now, the selectors can only “wait and watch” till October 15.
“The selectors will wait and watch on how Hardik shapes up in the next few days. The selectors went with just three genuine pacers because it was believed Hardik would be fit enough to bowl his quota of overs. Since he hasn’t bowled at all in the IPL, there’s no form to go by,” a BCCI official in the know of developments told Times Of India.
Also, to note is that the deadline for submitting the final squads for the teams in the Super 12 stage is October 15. October 10 was the deadline for the teams who will play in the Round 1 phase which starts on the 17th.
“Teams can change their teams seven days prior to the start of their support period. India’s support period starts with the Super 12 which begin on Oct 23. So, they have time to change the team till Oct 15 midnight,” an ICC source told TOI.
Hardik Pandya is running out of time as an all-rounder
While the source assured that Hardik Panya is unlikely to be dropped from the squad even if he isn’t fit to bowl, it added that a change in the squad could be made to include either Deepak Chahar or Shardul Thakur as the extra seamer. Both of them are in the reserves and can also provide batting lower down the order.
Harshal Patel, the Purple Cap holder of the IPL 2021, can be asked to stay back in the UAE as well.
“It’s not decided if Hardik will be dropped altogether if he doesn’t get bowling ready. But he is running out of time as an allrounder. If any one of Thakur and Deepak gets in, then there’s a chance of the selectors asking Harshal Patel to stay back in UAE,” the BCCI source added.
India take on Pakistan in their opening encounter on October 24 in Dubai. They will then meet New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other teams who will qualify from Round 1 in the Super 12 stage.