New Delhi. Back surgery 3 years ago has had a big impact on Hardik Pandya’s bowling. He could not bowl for long. He did not bowl even in the T20 World Cup last year. He played as a batsman and Team India had to bear the brunt of it in the form of defeat. After that he stayed away from the cricket field for 6 months. But, he made a comeback from IPL this year and since then has impressed everyone with his bowling. For this reason, he was given the captaincy of the team on the tour of Ireland and after that he also played T20 series against England. In both the series, he performed well with both the ball and the bat.
Hardik’s role in India’s T20 World Cup campaign is very important. Team India sees him as a substitute for the fifth bowler. But, Ashish Nehra, the coach of his team Gujarat Titans in IPL, does not agree with this thinking of the Indian team. He believes that Hardik should not be seen as the fifth, but as the sixth bowler and he should be considered as a batting all-rounder.
Look at Pandya as the sixth bowler, not the fifth: Nehra
In a conversation with Telegraph India, Ashish said, “Hardik will hardly be able to give any answer to this, because you make a plan but it is not necessary that it will be successful every time. But, so far everything has been fine. Hardik can only join the limited overs team of any country as a batsman. Yes, if he bowls, it is a bonus for the team. But, you can’t keep him as the fifth bowler in T20 or ODI. He can only be your sixth bowler.”
Pandya returned to the Indian ODI team after almost a year from the match against England at the Oval. But, there are still apprehensions about throwing the entire quota of 10 overs in his ODIs. Nehra also does not have an answer to this question. He said, “Looking at his fitness, he has slowly prepared himself for bowling. He is not going to West Indies for the ODI series, it is good in a way. When you are just a fast bowler, you don’t have a choice. You have to be fit and have to bowl. But, this is not the case in Hardik’s case. He is doing well for the last 2-3 months.”
‘Considering Pandya as the fifth bowler will only increase the problem’
Nehra said something during this conversation, which can give a jolt to Team India’s preparations for the T20 World Cup. He said that it would be better if the team sees Hardik as the sixth bowler instead of fifth. He said, “He can bowl 10 overs even in 50-over cricket. But even if he gives you the option of 5-6 overs, then it gives a huge bonus. In the first ODI against England, you had 4 bowlers apart from Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. If you see Hardik as the fifth bowler, then you will struggle as a team.
FIRST PUBLISHED : July 14, 2022, 14:08 IST