Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya is struggling to regain full fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021 which gets underway later this month. The Indian selectors are in a quandary whether to keep faith in Pandya or bring in Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Shardul Thakur into the 15-man squad. Thakur along with Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar are the three standby players named for the T20 World Cup by India.
The Mumbai all-rounder Thakur is currently the leading wicket-taker for MS Dhoni’s side in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 with 15 wickets in 13 matches ahead of Dwayne Bravo (12 wickets) and Chahar (12 wickets). Pandya, on the other hand, has played just a handful of games since the IPL 2021 shifted to UAE and hasn’t bowled in any of the matches.
Pandya gave a positive update on his return to the bowling crease, saying he would do it soon. “Runs are important and especially when your team wins. It was important for my personal confidence but to score for the team was important. We have to assess the wicket and adapt on the given time. The plans have to be simple and win over obstacles ball-by-ball. There's no option, but one thing is that these situations bring out the best in you. We realise it is a do-or-die game, but we are just focusing on the controllable,” Hardik told host broadcaster Star Sports before the game against Delhi Capitals last weekend.
Commenting on hitting the bowling crease, he said: “Aayega jaldi. Koshish poori hai (I will bowl soon. Efforts are on).”
In the meantime, fans are already dreaming about ‘Lord’ Thakur representing India at the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman. “Just imagine Shardul Thakur being Man of the Series in #WorldT20. As crazy it may sound, it is on, can't doubt Lord,” one fan tweeted.
Just imagine Shardul Thakur being Man of the Series in #WorldT20
As crazy it may sound, it is on, can't doubt Lord.
— Nikhil (@CricCrazyNIKS) October 4, 2021
“This is Lord Shardul Thakur's Era....& We are just living It ...#CSKvDC,” another fan wrote.
— Jay prakash Sharma (@ms_dhoni_077) October 4, 2021
India can still make changes in the final squad for the T20 World Cup till October 10 according to ICC regulations.
India’s T20 World Cup 2021 squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami.
Standby players: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar.