Hardik Pandya of Mumbai Indians is still not comfortable enough to bowl, his Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said on Monday, a few days before the Indian team sets off on the marquee tour of Australia for 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 4 Tests.
On the eve of their IPL final against Delhi Capitals, Rohit Sharma said Hardik Pandya, who has not bowled through the 13th edition of the lucrative event, made it clear that he is still not up to the mark when it comes to fitness.
Hardik Pandya Isn’t Comfortable Bowling As He Has Some Niggle: Rohit Sharma
Hardik Pandya has scored 278 runs in 13 matches averaging 39.71 at a great strike rate of 182.89 but hasn’t bowled in this entire IPL season. He has picked up 42 wickets from 79 IPL matches besides scoring 1346 runs. He hasn’t been selected in Test squad where the spin-bowling all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari have been preferred instead.
“He is not comfortable at the moment to bowl you know, and we have left all the decision on him,” Rohit said.
The Indian limited-overs vice-captain, who isn’t a part of Indian limited-overs squad for the upcoming Australia tour, is eyeing an unprecedented fifth IPL trophy said his swashbuckling all-rounder has “got some niggle going”.
“… If he feels comfortable he will be happy to bowl, but at the moment, he is not feeling comfortable, he has got some niggle going.
“So I mean it would have been great to have him bowl but, throughout the season, we have given him that cushion of being in that comfort zone and making sure that he takes care of his body and he has done that really well.”
Amidst the MI domination over the past few weeks, the team management kept assessing the progress made by Hardik Pandya, who more than made up for not bowling pace with his incredible ability to hit the ball at a phenomenal strike rate which was acknowledged by skipper Rohit Sharma.
“We have had his assessment every three four games and we have spoken to him about what he wants to do.”
“So we don’t want to put that pressure on individuals where we are expecting something from him and he is not able to do it and the team morale goes down, we don’t want that situation.”
“You know Hardik to us is very important as a player and his batting has been really really key for us, making it to the final. So as long as he bats I am happy.”
Mumbai Indians topped the points table with maximum 9 wins in 14 matches and had maximum 18 points while also beating 2nd placed Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 1.
Hardik Pandya Underwent Back Surgery And Last Played In September 2019
Hardik Pandya is part of the teams named for the limited-overs series in Australia beginning in the last week of November. Hardik Pandya underwent back surgery in October last year in the UK. His lower back had been troubling him since the late 2018.
The surgery kept him out of action for almost a year, with the all-rounder last playing a T20 International against South Africa at home in September 2019. He missed the 3 Tests against the Proteas after that, the home series against Bangladesh comprising of 3 T20Is and 2 Tests and West Indies (3 T20Is and 3 ODIs), a T20I series of 3 matches against Sri Lanka and 3 ODIs against Australia at home, and the entire tour of New Zealand earlier this year which saw 5 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 2 Tests.
South Africa’s tour to India for 3 ODIs was cancelled after the abandonment of first ODI for rain due to coronavirus but Hardik Pandya was named in the ODI squad.