'Hardik Pandya ain't admitting it. Something is wrong': MI skipper alleged of hiding injury as T20 WC spot questioned | Crickit
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'Hardik Pandya ain't admitting it. Something is wrong': MI skipper alleged of hiding injury as T20 WC spot questioned

Apr 12, 2024 06:32 PM IST

Hardik Pandya bowled just one over in the last three IPL 2024 matches for Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya has been hit with a serious allegation of hiding an injury concern over his no-bowling stance for the franchise in the ongoing IPL 2024 resulting in experts questioning his spot in the Indian T20 World Cup squad. Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull is convinced that Hardik is “not admitting” to an injury he has incurred during the tournament, which is why he hasn't been bowling for MI in the last few matches.

Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya places field during the Indian Premier League cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai, India, Monday, April. 1(AP)
Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya places field during the Indian Premier League cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai, India, Monday, April. 1(AP)

Besides Mumbai Indians' contentious captaincy announcement in December and rumours around the manner of Hardik's big return to the franchise, there was another factor why the all-rounder was among the big talking points in the lead up to IPL 2024. Hardik was not in action between October 2023 and mid-March 2024 owing to his recovery from an ankle injury he suffered from during the ODI World Cup event at home.

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Hardik skipped the domestic season and all of India's white-ball fixtures thereafter, only to return to action in the DY Patil T20 tournament before performing in IPL 2024. But more than his injury update and his return to competitive sport, the concern was whether Hardik could once again bowl four overs in T20 cricket with the all-rounder spot up for grabs in the World Cup squad.

The doubts were immediately brushed aside after Hardik opened the bowling for MI in the opening two matches, but then skipped the role in the next two saying that “the team had it covered, so didn't need to roll my arm over.” On Thursday, in the home game against Royal Challengers Bengaluru, Hardik bowled only one over, where he was smashed for 13 runs.

Speaking to Cricbuzz amid Hardik's no-bowling stance, Doull reckoned that the MI captain has incurred some sort of an injury which he isn't revealing and hence has stayed away from rolling his arms.

“You go out and make a statement by opening the bowling in game no. 1, and suddenly, you are not required. He's injured. I'm telling you there is something wrong with him. He is not admitting it. But there is something wrong with him for sure. That is my gut feeling,” he said.

In the eight overs Hardik has bowled in IPL 2024, across three matches, he has picked just one wickets, while conceding at an economy rate of 11.20.

Doull further shaked his head in disagreement when fellow panellist Harsha Bhogle questioned if Hardik can make the T20 World Cup squad purely as a batter and later responded with a "yes" when his colleague said that MI star needs to bowl four overs to stay in contention for the India squad.

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