RR vs MI in IPL 2021: Hardik Pandya says, ‘Will start bowling soon’ ahead of T20 World Cup

Mumbai Indians’ all-rounder Hardik Pandya has said that he will start bowling soon as he comes under the scanner of BCCI ahead of the T20 World Cup. He will be next in action against Rajasthan Royals as MI continues their fight for 4th place in IPL 2021 Points Table. Meanwhile, BCCI is keeping a close watch on his form ahead of the showpiece event.

“(On bowling) Think I will start shortly,” Hardik had said in the post-match conference after MI vs DC.

In IPL, he hasn’t bowled for 873 days and that takes away the all-rounder tag.

MI’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene had earlier declared that ‘Hardik will not bowl in IPL 2021′.

“At the moment if we push too hard (to bowl), he (Hardik) might be an issue where he might even struggle and might not be an asset as a batsman. We’re trying to do what’s best for Hardik, going forward. Whether he can bowl or not in the IPL is something we will have to look at,” Jayawardene had stated.

NOTE: As per multiple reports, Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the WTC Final and India Tour of England earlier this year owing to his inability to bowl.

Why Hardik Pandya’s lack of bowling worrying BCCI & selectors ahead of T20 World Cup?

  1. Lack of bowling raises questions about his fitness.
  2. While he missed two matches due to a niggle, Mumbai Indians never revealed the kind and extent of the injury.
  3. Hardik has bowled only 42 overs the entire 2021 and that is a problem for going to a mega tournament where the team relies on his wicket-taking deliveries.
  4. Selecting as a batsman in India’s Playing XI isn’t something selectors are looking at as a pure batsman at No 7 is not helpful for Team India.
  5. His performance with the bat too isn’t good enough. In 2021, he has scored at an average of 24.00 in T20Is, 23.80 in ODIs, and in IPL that drops down to 13.57.

MI will be hoping that Hardik delivers with the bat and ball as the defending champions are fighting for a 4th finish with KKR and RR.