The Indian skipper Virat Kohli and team management received a lot of flak from fans and experts for picking all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is still not fit enough to bowl, in India’s squad for the match against Pakistan in the ongoing T20I World Cup 2021.
Hardik Pandya’s fitness has become one of the biggest concerns for India ahead of their campaign in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled a single delivery in recent times and he also played as a specialist batsman for Mumbai Indians in the just concluded 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
However, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli has backed the star Indian all-rounder and he sounded very confident about Hardik bowing at least two overs at some point in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021.
During a virtual pre-match press conference ahead of India’s T2 World Cup opener against Pakistan in Dubai on Sunday, Kohli said that Hardik looks fit enough to chip in with a couple of overs however he will regain full fitness as the tournament progresses. He said:
“Well, I honestly feel that Hardik Pandya presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament and we strongly believe we can make the most of the opportunity we have at our hand till the time he starts bowling,”
But since Hardik hasn’t started bowling in the nets, as revealed by Rohit Sharma earlier, Virat too said that the team has kept ‘other options’ ready till Hardik gets back to his red-hot form in bowling. Infact, during the second warm-up match of India against Australia, Virat himself was seen bowling a couple of overs. He said:
“We have considered a couple of other options to chip in with overs so we are not bothered about that all,”
Further, Virat backed the batting abilities of Hardik Pandya and stated that no other player brings a talent like Hardik at the No.6 position in the team. He said:
“What he brings at number six for us is something that you cannot create overnight. Hence, I was always in favour of backing him as a batter in Australia purely and we saw what he did in the T20I series and how he can take the game away from the opposition. We understand the value he brings to the team as a number six batter and it is important to have such players who can play impact innings. For us, that is way more valuable than forcing him to do something that he cannot at the moment, he is motivated and he is keen to start giving us a couple of overs to us,”