New Delhi. Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra feels that Team India should be retained in the playing XI along with Hardik Pandya for the crucial match against New Zealand. Hardik is facing a lot of scrutiny for his bowling fitness. He has not bowled a single over in the recently concluded IPL 2021 and India’s first T20 World Cup 2021 match against Pakistan. Hardik’s unavailability as a bowler is hurting the balance of the Indian team, as the team lacks a genuine fast bowling all-rounder. After the humiliating defeat at the hands of Pakistan, many cricket critics have suggested India to choose Ishan Kishan over Hardik for the New Zealand match. However, Aakash Chopra does not agree with this, as he feels that the inclusion of Ishaan in place of Hardik will further damage the balance of the India team.
The former India opener said that the question about Hardik Pandya’s place in the playing XI is not wrong at the moment. He said on his YouTube channel, “This debate will continue. When you look at Hardik Pandya and see that he is not bowling, you are bound to feel if he really fits into the team. The question is not wrong. In 2021, he has not scored many runs and has also missed a few games. However, the cricketer-turned-commentator said that it is unfair to judge Hardik on the basis of his performance against Pakistan.
“But I will consider his performance against Pakistan. How can you judge a class player like Hardik on the basis of just eight balls? But it is true that he has not made any impact with the bat this year. And when he is not bowling, India is completely out of balance because you have only five bowling options. Aakash Chopra further elaborated why the inclusion of Ishaan in place of Hardik would change India’s selection philosophy.
Aakash Chopra said, “But Ishaan instead of Hardik? No, because if he replaces Hardik, he will have to open for India with Rohit. Then KL Rahul at No. 4, Rishabh Pant at No. 5 and Suryakumar Yadav at No. 6? Does this really make sense? If one defeat makes such a big difference, it only shows that we don’t have faith in our selection process. Ishaan’s inclusion will completely change India’s selection philosophy. However, India can make changes in its bowling attack. I think India should stick with Hardik for the New Zealand game and Ishaan will have to wait for his chance.”
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya has started trying his hand at bowling in the nets. Hardik bowled in the nets on Wednesday from the ‘do or die’ match against New Zealand in the Super 12 stage. He bowled Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur in the nets for about 20 minutes. Head coach Ravi Shastri and mentor Mahendra Singh Dhoni monitored his progress.