Hardik Pandya might be a part of India's ICC T20 World Cup squad but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been cautious about increasing his workload ever since he returned from back surgery last year. He has hardly been given the ball even though chief selector Chetan Sharma had asserted at the time of announcing the T20 World Cup squad that the all-rounder was perfectly fit to bowl in the shortest format.
Moreover, Pandya has featured for Mumbai Indians as a pure batsman in IPL 2021. He even missed the first two matches of MI in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE and the all-rounder hadn't bowled in the first leg of the tournament in India as well due to niggle issues.
Notably, Hardik’s fitness issues have reportedly left BCCI scratching its head ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place from October 17 in UAE, as the Indian team is currently lacking a proper all-rounder, and if reports are to be believed, Pandya can be replaced ahead of the tournament.
However, Team India coach Ravi Shastri has asserted that Hardik Pandya is a "confidence player" and once he gets into the groove, he can string 4-5 match-winning scores, be it for his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians or Team India.
"He (Hardik) is very much a confidence player and sometimes when you're not a 100 per cent, it can play on your mind so it was important from Mumbai Indians' point of view that he first go on to the park and then scored the runs," Shastri told fancode.com on Saturday.
"It was very important (to gradually bring Hardik to a competitive match). I've known Hardik for a long time… he's very much a confidence player, once he gets into the groove then he can string 4-5 match-winning scores," added Shastri.
Interestingly, Pandya seems to be gradually getting back into the groove with his unbeaten 30-ball 40 being crucial in Mumbai Indians defeating Punjab Kings by six wickets on September 28 to break a losing streak.
“Aayega jaldi. Koshish poori hai”
Ahead of the IPL 2021 match against Delhi Capitals on Saturday (October 2), Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya gave a positive update on his return to the bowling crease, saying he would do it soon.
Commenting on hitting the bowling crease, he said: "Aayega jaldi. Koshish poori hai (I will bowl soon. Efforts are on)."