India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya was seen bowling at the nets after ages on Wednesday. Hardik Pandya playing as a batsman instead of an all-rounder has affected the overall balance in the team.
Knowing that Pandya is all fit and fine and has started bowling in the nets in Dubai raises the possibility of him bowling in India’s upcoming game against New Zealand on Sunday. After suffering a 10-wicket loss against Pakistan, Virat Kohli and co do not have a huge margin for error in Group 2.
Earlier in July in India’s tour to Sri Lanka, Hardik was seen bowling 16 overs across 3 ODIs and a T20. However, the 28-year-old did not bowl a single over in the 2nd leg of IPL in UAE for Mumbai Indians. Hardik also hurt his shoulder while batting against Pakistan and did not take the field after India’s innings as he had to go for scans.
India had an optional practice session at the ICC Academy ground on Wednesday in Dubai.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Hardik Pandya on Wednesday underwent fitness drills, including the short sprints, overseen by strength and conditioning coach Sohum Desai and physio Nitin Patel. He also bowled for about 20 minutes in the nets to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur. India’s coach Ravi Shastri and mentor MS Dhoni also monitored Hardik Pandya’s progress. After that, Hardik took throwdowns from batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Before the high voltage clash against Pakistan, Hardik was questioned how far he is from bowling. He said that he will not be bowling in that particular game but he is slowly taking baby steps and will surely try to do so when India nears to the knockout stages.
On Thursday, BCCI posted a few pictures from their official handle where Hardik is seen sweating hard in the training, both batting and bowling. The picture excited the fans and they are expecting to see Hardik with the ball on Sunday.
Hardik’s inclusion in the squad knowing that he is not fit to bowl has raised many questions earlier. With a question mark looming over Hardik Pandya’s bowling, the Indian selectors brought in Shardul Thakur in place of spinner Axar Patel. Ahead of the game against Pakistan, skipper Virat Kohli spoke about Hardik’s value in the team. Kohli talked about his power hitting skills while batting at No.6.