Indian captain Virat Kohli on Saturday (October 30) emphasized the need for a sixth bowling option in the team but also kept his cards close to his chest on Hardik Pandya’s availability to do the job if required against New Zealand on Sunday in Dubai.
Pakistan had hammered India by 10 wickets in their previous game and Hardik was not called upon by Kohli nor did he bowl himself despite the five chosen bowlers being unable to get the breakthrough.
Pandya, who did not bowl during the IPL 2021, or the warm-ups played by India ahead of the T20 World Cup, recently bowled for the first time at the nets in a optional session of the team.
Talking during a virtual press conference arranged by the ICC, Kohli said ahead of the all-important game against New Zealand, “It’s very important to have a sixth bowling option — whether through me or Hardik (Pandya). He should have to be fit to be able to bowl one or two overs,”
Kohli also explained the use of the sixth bowler depends on the game situation, and if cannot be a pre-decided thing.
“Game situation dictate when to use your sixth bowling option. In our last match, if they (Pakistan) batted first, I could also have bowled one or two overs.
“But in the second innings when we needed wickets, we just had to bowl our primary bowlers. It’s not that a team with six-seven bowling options doesn’t lose,” Kohli said.
When asked if the all-rounder had recovered completely from the shoulder bruising he sustained while facing Shaheen Afridi in the Pakistan clash, Kohli said there is nothing to worry on that front.
“Hardik is absolutely fine, if you’re talking about the blow on his shoulder,” Kohli said.