All-rounder Hardik Pandya could be a vital cog in the Indian team’s wheel at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, slated to be held in UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
However, Hardik hasn’t been at his best after going through back surgery later in 2019. The 27-year-old had barely bowled until the Sri Lanka tour in July 2021 and he isn’t bowling in the ongoing second phase of IPL 2021 as well.
In fact, Pandya missed the first two games of Mumbai Indians since the IPL 14 resumed on September 19. Recently, MI head coach Mahela Jayawardena said that the defending champions won’t push Hardik to bowl as it might impact his batting too.
It is important for India that Pandya’s fitness remains in the best possible shape heading into the T20 World Cup, else it will be difficult for him to get a place in the playing XI.
According to a Cricbuzz report, India’s coaching staff feels the balance of the side gets upset with a one-dimensional Pandya.
Notably, fit and in-form Shardul Thakur features in the list of three stand-by players.
Meanwhile, former India chief selector MSK Prasad has weighed in on Pandya’s selection, saying it can be justified if he plays the role of an all-rounder.
“He has regained his batting form which was good to see the other night (MI vs PBKS). I hope to see him bowl his quota of four overs in the last leg of the IPL and justify his selection in the World Cup squad,” Prasad told Cricbuzz.
It is worth mentioning here that the ICC has allowed participating nations to make changes to their squad till October 10, and India might bring in a couple of in-form players on the basis of IPL performances.
The Indian team is likely to assemble in Dubai after the IPL final on October 15.