Hardik Pandya’s selection for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 was under the scanner as he couldn’t bowl a single over during the recently held second phase of IPL 2021 and still struggling to bowl.
However, the team management decided to persist with the all-rounder considering his ability to absorb pressure and finish games with the bat.
Sharing his two cents on the same, legendary cricketer Kapil Dev on Tuesday (October 19) said Pandya not bowling will not impact India’s chances in the showpiece tournament.
Notably, Hardik wasn’t given a ball in the warm-up match against England in Dubai on Monday (October 18). India operated with five full-time bowling options and conceded 188 runs in 20 overs.
“An all-rounder always makes a massive difference to a team. Hardik not bowling will not impact India’s chances, but it will make a difference in terms of Kohli’s options. If an all-rounder is available for both, it enhances the captain’s ability to rotate bowlers and gives him the extra option to fall back on,” Kapil Dev told Sportskeeda.
“In Hardik’s case, India should be okay given the talent in the team, but him bowling even 2 overs will obviously lend more flexibility. That said, I believe India does have the firepower in the team to make up for the deficiency,” he added.
Hardik Pandya hasn’t been at his best after going through back surgery in late 2019. He had barely bowled until the Sri Lanka tour in July 2021 and has stopped bowing once again.
Kapil Dev, however, advised Pandya to start bowling at the nets in order to gain confidence.
“If you are able to bowl 40-50 balls in the nets, it builds up the confidence in any player to bowl in a match, otherwise it is that much more difficult to be fully committed. If you don’t practice in the nets, you won’t have confidence in your bowling. Any type of injury hampers a player’s ability.”
Coming to the warm-up match, India defeated England by seven wickets. Chasing 189 to win, the Men in Blue lit up the powerplay with KL Rahul’s stunning 51 off 24 balls. Ishan Kishan top-scored in his role as opener with 70(46) and it was Rishabh Pant 29(14) and Hardik Pandya 16(10) who finished off the chase with an over to spare.
Team India will start their T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai on October 24.