‘Hardik Pandya hasn’t started bowling in nets yet': Rohit Sharma says India searching for 6th bowler in T20 World Cup
India opener Rohit Sharma on Wednesday gave an update on Hardik Pandya's bowing fitness, which was a bit worrying and comforting at the same time for the Indian fans. Rohit said Hardik has not yet started to bowl in the nets but he is hopeful that the all-rounder will start to roll his arms over soon and will be available any time in the main rounds of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman.
"Hardik is coming along pretty well, but it'll be a while before he starts to bowl. He hasn't started bowling, but he should be ready any time during the tournament. In a big tournament like this, you always want to make sure that a player is 100% fit. Hopefully, he will start bowling soon," Rohit, who is leading India in the second warm-up match against Australia, said at the toss.
Hardik did not bowl a single over in the UAE leg of the IPL for the Mumbai Indians. The last time he bowled was in the Sri Lanka series but then too, he was not regular and did not seam a 100% fit.
Hardik's fitness concerns forced India to make a change in their 15-memeber squad for the World Cup. Shardul Thakur was in the reserves, swapped places with Axar Patel, because the Mumbai cricketer was the only seam-bowler who can do a job with the bat too in the Indian squad.
Rohit said, India are looking to address the sixth bowling option ahead of the main stages of the World Cup. “We want to make sure that we get the 6th bowling option, some options in the batting order as well, we'll try all those things today. We have quality in the main bowlers, but you need an option for a 6th bowler,” he said.
India have decided to rest captain Virat Kohli, pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami for their warm-up fixture against Australia.
On Monday, India defeated England by seven wickets in their first warm-up match. Chasing 189, India got off to an excellent start as opening batters KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan played crucial knocks of 70 and 51 runs, respectively.
After this match, India will next play Pakistan in their opening game of the T20 World Cup on October 24 while on the other hand, England will be facing West Indies on October 23.