When will Hardik Pandya bowl: The all-rounder from the defending champions played as a specialist batsman in their season opener.
Indian Premier League defending champions Mumbai Indians director of cricket operations Zaheer Khan is unperturbed about Hardik Pandya not bowling for them affecting their bowling unit.
Pandya, who scored 13 (10) in IPL 2021 season opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore, didn’t bowl in the second innings. Since returning to cricket after a successful back surgery, Pandya has hardly bowled. While he played IPL 2020 in the UAE as a specialist batsman, he had bowled a total of 30 overs in a combined six ODIs and eights T20Is against Australia and England.
“[Kieron] Pollard is our sixth bowling option. He’s an experienced campaigner here so he’s definitely going to be our sixth bowling option. And whenever Hardik [Pandya] is available, he’s going to be a bowling option as well.
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“We’re not very concerned in that department. You have to adapt and adjust. This year it’s a different format so we’ll look to have that flexibility around because of not being able to play in the home ground,” Khan said in a virtual press conference ahead of their second match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on Tuesday.
When will Hardik Pandya bowl for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021?
Despite scoring 474 runs in 13 innings at an average and strike rate of 47.40 and 130.57 respectively including three half-centuries at the highest level since his international comeback, Pandya not bowling in competitive cricket has been questions by cricket experts recently.
Being asked about the absence of a bowler in Pandya against Royal Challengers on Friday, Khan spoke on the lines of “workload management”. “Hardik as a whole package is of great value. It was a workload related thing in the previous game [that he didn’t bowl].
“He bowled in the India-England series, in the last ODI he bowled about nine overs, and that’s why in consultation with the physios, we had to take that approach,” Khan added.
In the previous match, Pandya was also seen struggling with his shoulder while fielding at the boundary. Whenever the ball came towards the 27-year old player, he under-armed it to the bowler or wicket-keeper instead of throwing it properly.
“There was a little bit of a shoulder concern [against RCB]. I don’t think it’s worrisome, you will very soon see him bowl. For the timelines, you’ll have to ask the physio but in terms of Hardik the bowler coming in this tournament, we are very confident that he will be chipping in,” the former Indian pacer further added.