The performance of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has not been anything special. Team India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s performance has also not been special for Mumbai. Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene on Friday said that his team is in no hurry to force Hardik Pandya to bowl in the Indian Premier League as it could put him in trouble, which could lead to him in the upcoming T20 World Cup. There may be an impact on performance. After missing the first two matches of the second phase of the IPL, Mumbai Indians played Hardik as the only batsman in the next matches. Due to this questions were raised about his selection in the T20 World Cup team selected for India.
The chief selector said Hardik is fully fit to bowl in the tournaments to be held in UAE and Oman from October 17. But Jayawardene doesn’t think so and said that the Mumbai-based franchise is in constant touch with the Indian team’s ‘think tank’ regarding Hardik. “He (Hardik) hasn’t bowled for a long time, so we are trying to do our best for Hardik,” he told reporters at a virtual press conference ahead of the team’s next match against Delhi Capitals here on Saturday. We are in constant touch with the Indian team management regarding Hardik. Whether he will bowl in the IPL or not, we will decide on a day to day basis. I think at this point of time if we put more emphasis on bowling to him, he might struggle.
Hardik hasn’t bowled as much as he used to after his return from back surgery in 2019. However, he bowled regularly during the five-match T20I series against England in March. But he did not bowl in the first leg of the IPL in India and was not used in the UAE leg as well. Mumbai has had a poor second leg with the team winning only one match out of four. The defending champions are currently outside the top four and are in fifth place with 10 points from 11 matches. Jayawardene said, ‘Winning this match was very important. We are now as excited as we were when the tournament started. We did a lot of good things in the last match but still a lot of improvement is needed. We have to play our best cricket to make it to the top four.