Heading into the T20 World Cup, Hardik Pandya doesn’t seem to have recovered totally from his lower back problems. The BCCI made a last-minute arrangement to their T20 World Cup squad by roping in Shardul Thakur ideally as his cover by removing Axar Patel from the original squad. The left-arm spinner is currently with the reserves alongside Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar.
A BCCI official spoke to ANI about Hardik Pandya’s fitness and gave a major update on his condition. The source revealed that while Hardik Pandya is still not cleared to bowl, he will play as a batsman in the team. The Indian team management wants the 28-year-old to play as a finisher in the showpiece event. However, it remains unlikely that Pandya will be considered a bowling option for Virat Kohli, looking at his current progress.
Hardik Pandya Not Fit To Bowl Yet: BCCI Official
“He’s not a 100 per cent when it comes to his bowling, so it will be a finisher’s role for Hardik in this World Cup. We will keep assessing him as we progress, but at present, the team will look at him as a batsman who comes in and looks to play the finisher’s role just like MS Dhoni did over the years” said the BCCI official.
The Indian all-rounder did not have the best of seasons with Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. The franchise will find it difficult to retain the core and they might likely think of releasing the Pandya brothers. He played 12 matches for Mumbai not bowling in any of the games. With the bat he scored just 127 runs.
It was ideally at the cost of Hardik Pandya that Axar Patel had to give up on his T20 World Cup dream. With doubts mounting over Pandya’s bowling the BCCI only thought it was right to sign in Shardul as his cover. The 15-member squad stringent rule meant Axar Patel had to face the axe.