T20 World Cup 2021: Selectors wanted to send Hardik back home after IPL but Dhoni backed his finishing skills: Report

Hardik Pandya | GETTY

India cricketer Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in the playing XI has come under scrutiny after their defeat against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2021. Hardik hasn’t been bowling lately and even Team India played him in their first Super 12 match as a specialist batter.

As per reports in the Times of India, the all-rounder not bowling in the Indian Premier League (IPL) could have taken away his spot in the T20 World Cup squad. BCCI selectors wanted to send Hardik back home from the IPL 2021 but MS Dhoni, India’s mentor for the T20 World Cup 2021, backed him for his finishing skills.

“The truth is that the selectors wanted to send him back to India after he didn’t bowl in the IPL, but MS Dhoni (appointed Team India mentor) vouched for his finishing skills,” a source was quoted as saying by TOI.

“The whole mystery around his fitness has been going on for the last six months. You’re now saying that he has a shoulder injury. In the bargain, you aren’t giving a chance to a fit guy. You’re playing an unfit guy who isn’t useful to the team. It’s not right. Because of him, you’re neglecting other fit guys who have been performing well,” he further added.

There have been suggestions of including Shardul Thakur in the playing XI over Hardik, who could also offer some contribution with the bat. Shardul was added to the 15-member squad ahead of the T20 World Cup in place of Akshar Patel.

However, Pandya was recently spotted bowling in the practice session ahead of India’s clash against New Zealand and there is a possibility of him playing as an all-rounder on October 31.