After facing a 66-run defeat by the host Australia on Friday (November 27), Indian skipper Virat Kohli got vocal about the lack of all-round options in his side. He also confirmed that the all-time all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Friday was deployed as a ‘pure batsman’ in the team due to his back issues.
Hardik Pandya, on the other hand also admitted that the lack of 6th bowling option in the team was going to be tough. With Hardik playing only as a specialist batsman at the moment, India didn’t have an all-rounder in the team to give the ball to after the 5 primary bowlers conceded runs in plenty.
“That has been the question always, right? We have to find and maybe make… I have always believed that… even when I came into the circuit, I was not always the all-rounder which I wanted to be. But with time I groomed myself and became that bowling option. I worked on my bowling,” he said.
“Yeah, it is always going to be difficult when you go with five bowlers. When someone is having an off day you don’t have someone to fulfil the quota. More than injury, the sixth bowler’s role is when someone among the five bowlers is having a bad day. I think it is going to be… maybe we will have to make, maybe we will have to find someone who has already played India, and groom them and find a way to make them play,” Hardik Pandya added.
On asking about the issue regarding the absence of the 6th bowler in the Indian team, the junior Pandya subtly took the name of his elder brother Krunal Pandya.
“Look in the Pandya family, there’s one waiting at home”, the junior Pandya said hinting towards Krunal Pandya.
Krunal Pandya, the spin-bowling all-rounder has featured in 18 T20Is but hasn’t featured in the 50-over format.
Can’t Tell You Exactly When I Am Going To Bowl: Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya is avoiding bowling due to his back injury that he sustained last year. Even in the recently concluded Indian Premier League 2020, he played as a pure batsman for Mumbai Indians. Hardik is not planning to quit bowling altogether but at the same time, he doesn’t consider himself to be fully fit for bowling. The junior Pandya is planning to use both the skills in the upcoming World Cups and some other important assignments that India will have in the future.
“It is a process. I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100% of my bowling capacity for the most important games. The World Cups are coming. More crucial series is coming. Whenever it is required,” Pandya said of his bowling.
“I am thinking like a long-term plan, not short term where I exhaust myself and maybe have something else [injury] which is not there. So it is going to be a process, which I am following. I can’t tell you exactly when I am going to bowl but the process is on. In the nets, I am bowling. It is just that I am not game-ready but I am bowling. It is all about confidence and the skill has to be at an international level.”