Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya’s role in the team is yet to be finalized since the 27-year-old is yet to bowl a single over in the last couple of months. He played for Mumbai Indians (MI) as a specialist batsman as the franchise didn’t want to pressurize the all-rounder, who is still having trouble with his back injury.
Questions have been raised on whether he brings the same amount of value to the Indian team when playing only as a batsman. If he can bowl at least a couple of overs, Hardik walks into the Indian playing XI any day of the week. If he cannot, things change for the Baroda all-rounder.
“The concern is Hardik as he is an altogether different player when he can bat and bowl. Imagine having two match-winning all-rounders in the form of Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja. But the same Hardik becomes slightly less effective if he can’t bowl and the team composition needs a rethink in that case. Does he have the ability to win you games as a finisher? Yes, he does. But would you play him purely as a finisher or a lower-order batsman?”
“This is where the role of a mentor like MSD becomes all the more crucial. He has seen Hardik grow as a cricketer and his input will be important as the middle-order would need the experience of someone like Hardik who has played in showpiece events. If you look at the current middle-order, you have an in-form Surya and Ishan, but they haven’t played in showpiece events and the pressure that a World Cup can bring is unthinkable unless you are out in the middle,” a source in the know of developments said to ANI.
Hardik Pandya’s fitness assessment will soon be finalized by the Indian physio
Now that MI has finished its IPL 2021 campaign, the players will step into the Indian bio-bubble in a few days. Hardik Pandya had been working with the MI physio to improve his overall match fitness but the final call on his role will be taken once the Indian physio takes a look at the 27-year-old.
“You have to understand that there are certain muscles and tissues that he has used in his body while bowling over the last decade or even more. Now, with the surgery and the slight tweak in action, his muscles and tissues might be taking more time to adapt to the new process. It is something that can happen to any sportsperson.“
“The input of the Indian physio will also be crucial now that Hardik enters the Indian team bubble. So far, he was being monitored by the MI physio. It is a different thing to watch videos and see someone live. I believe the physio’s input could play a key role in Hardik’s case,” the source added.
India begins its quest to win its first ICC trophy in eight years on October 24, when it will face off against arch-rivals, Pakistan, in Dubai.