Hardik Pandya, the Indian all-rounder recently revealed that he was selected as a batter and was not supposed to bowl in the T20 World Cup 2021 because of his back issues.
The player pointed out that while he did push himself to bowl, he could not get the desired results. Hardik Pandya made these remarks while speaking to sports journalist Boria Majumdar.
Hardik Pandya Should Be Thankful That He Was Picked For 2021 T20I World Cup Despite Fitness Concerns- Rajkumar Sharma
Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma, however, labelled Hardik Pandya’s statement “immature.” He believes the team management backed him for the marquee event, despite concerns about his fitness. Rajkumar Sharma believes the player should be thankful for the same.
Rajkumar Sharma said on YouTube channel Khelneeti: “The selectors and team management favoured Hardik in the T20 World Cup 2021. Him coming out and saying what he said is not a mature statement. You should be thankful that they picked you were picked by the team management for the T20 World Cup, despite fitness concerns.”
Hardik Pandya had a forgettable T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, barring one innings against Afghanistan, where smashed an unbeaten 35 off 13 balls. More than his performances, it was the confusion over his bowling status that hurt India and also put them in an embarrassing situation during the ICC event.
He went on to play all the matches, scoring 11 off 8 against Pakistan, 23 off 24 against New Zealand, and an unbeaten 35 off 13 against Afghanistan. The 28-year-old bowled in only two of India’s five T20 World Cup 2021 matches in the UAE. He looked completely ineffective and was wicketless.
Nikhil Chopra: The Captain Would Have Surely Asked Hardik Pandya To Bowl, So No Point In Making Such Statements
Speaking in the same video, ex-India spinner Nikhil Chopra also stated that Hardik Pandya should have avoided making such a statement. He suggested that the captain would surely have asked Hardik Pandya if he was ready to bowl. Nikhil Chopra also reckoned that the selection committee should have confirmed that Hardik Pandya had been selected as a batter ahead of the competition itself.
He said: “The selectors in their press conference should have clarified that they have picked Hardik Pandya as just a batter and will only bowl when his body allows. There is no point in making such statements now on Pandya’s part. The captain would have surely asked him before bowling him.”
The Men in Blue suffered a group stage exit at the T20I World Cup 2021 in UAE. Hardik Pandya came under the scanner after the competition, with many claiming the dynamic all-rounder wasn’t fully fit for the crucial tournament.
Reacting to Hardik Pandya’s recent statements, Nikhil Chopra said that the player might have felt that he was being targeted for India’s disappointing 2021 T20I World Cup campaign. The cricketer-turned-commentator remarked that many a time a player is targeted when the team performs underwhelmingly. He feels the all-rounder could have been that player after India’s untimely exit from the ICC event.
Nikhil Chopra added: “Hardik might have thought that he was targeted for India’s poor showing at the T20 World Cup. Several times a player does come under the scanner when the team underperforms. It could have happened with Pandya this time around.”
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya has been appointed as the captain of the new Ahmedabad franchise for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2022). Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill are also set to play for the Ahmedabad side in this year’s cash-rich league. Hardik Pandya has only played for the Mumbai franchise in the IPL. He has played 1476 runs for MI in IPL so far at an average of 27.33 and picked 42 wickets averaging 31.26.