T20 World Cup 2021: “You need that 6th bowler,” Zaheer hopeful of Hardik Pandya bowling vs New Zealand

Hardik Pandya | Twitter

Zaheer Khan hopes that Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya will bowl against New Zealand in an ICC T20 World Cup 2021 clash on October 31 in Dubai.

After a disappointing loss against Pakistan in their first match of the T20 World Cup, Team Indian was criticized a lot for selecting Hardik Pandya in the squad, especially with him being unfit for bowling and showing poor form with the bat.

With Team set to face New Zealand in the must-win clash on Sunday (31st October), many fans and pundits are of the opinion that the Virat Kohli-led side should drop Hardik Pandya if the all-rounder is going to play as a specialist batter only.

However, ahead of the all-important clash, Indian fans had something to cheer about as Hardik Pandya was seen putting in the hard yards and was bowling during the nets session.

With Pandya bowling in the nets, former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan is hopeful that all-rounder will bowl in the match against New Zealand.

“There was a buzz that at some stage he [Hardik Pandya] will be starting to bowl. We will have to wait and see when he bowls in the matches. Yes, he has started bowling in the nets, so I am hopeful that he will bowl in the next match,” Zaheer Khan told Cricbuzz.

Zaheer Khan said Hardik’s return to bowling fitness will have a positive impact on India’s strength. He noted that India is the only team in the tournament without a 6th bowling option and Hardik bowling will fill that gap.

“It’s going to be crucial because when Hardik is bowling, that does shift the balance of the bowling attack towards a good strength. As a captain, you have that sixth bowling option. 

“If you look at any team right now, they all have a minimum of six bowling options going into a game except for India, who went in with five bowling options… Great news if he [Hardik Pandya] is bowling in the nets. Hope, he bowls in the match as well,” he said.

Both India and New Zealand would be eager to get a win under their belt after losing to Pakistan and it would be interesting to see who among them can stage a comeback.