T20 World Cup 2021: WATCH - Hardik Pandya bowls at nets ahead of India’s next game against New Zealand

Hardik Pandya isn't playing the role of an all-rounder lately due to fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya played as a finisher in the game against Pakistan | GettyIn a pleasant news for the Indian team and its fans, all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Wednesday (October 27) bowled at the nets, The Indian Express reported.

According to the report, India had an optional practice session at the ICC Academy ground in Dubai, where Pandya initially underwent several fitness drills under the watchful eye of team physio Nitin Patel and assistant trainer Soham Desai.

Hardik’s fielding drills lasted for about 20 minutes and then he went to a net and bowled. Skipper Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and team mentor MS Dhoni reportedly kept a close eye on Pandya as he bowled at the nets after a long time.

Hardik Pandya couldn’t bowl a single over during the recently held IPL 2021 second phase for Mumbai Indians (MI) and the two warm-up fixtures against England and Australia ahead of the T20 World Cup. However, the Indian team management decided to persist with him considering his ability to absorb pressure and finish games with the bat.

In India’s tournament opener against Pakistan last Sunday (October 24), Hardik wasn’t given a ball and he scored 11 off 8 balls while batting at No. 7.

Ahead of the Pakistan game, India skipper Virat Kohli had expressed confidence that the all-rounder will be able to bowl two overs for the side during the T20 World Cup at some stage.

“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. We have considered a couple of other options to chip in with overs so we are not bothered about that all," Kohli had said during the pre-match press conference.

"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," he added.

Team India missed the sixth bowling option during their 10-wicket loss to Pakistan, and if Hardik manages to sneak in with a couple of overs then it will certainly provide a much-needed balance to the side.

India will take on New Zealand in their next match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (October 31).

(Inputs from The Indian Express)


By Salman Anjum - 27 Oct, 2021

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