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IPL 2022: Ashish Nehra Gave A Big Update On Hardik Pandya’s Bowling

Gujarat Titans will make their first IPL 2022 appearance on Monday, playing against the other new entrant, Lucknow Super Giants. They have roped in local boy Hardik Pandya for 15 crore and named him as their franchise’s captain.

However, Hardik Pandya is short of match practice: he last played a high-level game at the T20 World Cup in November and has been since away from international and domestic circuit to focus on his fitness. In particular, his bowling fitness: Pandya didn’t bowl a single ball in the last two IPL seasons and has barely bowled a full quota of overs for India; he has been battling back injury issues for more than two years and hence was unable to bowl full tilt.

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Hardik Pandya IPL 2022

Former India pacer Ashish Nehra, who is also Gujarat Titans’ head coach, though, said that Pandya is good enough to come into any T20 side purely on his batting abilities. This statement from Nehra is seen as a big hint that Pandya will not bowl at all, or will only bowl a few overs, in Titans’ opening game against Lucknow.

Ashish Nehra’s remarks suggest that Hardik Pandya will not bowl in Gujarat Titans’ opening match of IPL 2022.

“When I saw him in Baroda[during Titans’ camp], he was good, bowling around 80%. That was a few weeks back and he was feeling really comfortable. Since then he went to the NCA and has been practicing non-stop,” Nehra told ESPNcricinfo ahead of his side’s first IPL 2022 game.

“From day one I have been saying, in any T20 squad, I will take Hardik Pandya as a pure batter. As far as our franchise is concerned, I am looking at him more as a captain and batsman. And maybe that is why he is saying his bowling is a ‘surprise’.” 

Hardik Pandya was not retained by Mumbai Indians, the franchise he had been with since 2015, and was snapped up by Gujarat for 15 crore ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction and put at the helm.

Although Hardik doesn’t have much captaincy experience, at least at this level, Nehra reckons this is a big learning curve for the 28-year-old who will also be aiming to make a statement in the IPL 2022 to bid for his comeback to the national team considering the T20 World Cup later this year.

Ahead of Gujarat’s maiden IPL 2022 game, the head coach asserted that he wants Pandya to enjoy his captaincy and not let the extra responsibility become a burden on the all-rounder.

hardik pandya ashish nehra ipl 2022

“Hardik Pandya might not have captained previously, but both of us will learn from each other as we start spending more time together during the season. He is very excited and very positive. He is taking it as a very big responsibility.

“At the jersey launch he said a very nice thing: “I have been talking to all my players and I’m just telling them, a win is yours and a loss is mine.” So I told him that we want to give you responsibility, yes, but it shouldn’t become a burden. It should be enjoyment coupled with responsibility,” Ashish Nehra added.

Jatin Khandelwal

Hi, I am Jatin Khandelwal. Cricket writing came accidentally for me with an undergrad engineering degree. With opportunities first as a freelancer and then full-time, and experience with time, I have grown in the role. The Cricket Lounge is a place where I can thrive with the best of my abilities.

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