'He is not bowling and his batting form is absent': Chopra names 'surprise' pick who can replace Pandya in India's WC XI

  • In reply to a query by a fan, Aakash Chopra raised doubts over Hardik Pandya's inclusion in India's XI for the T20 World Cup.
Aakash Chopra reckons Hardik Pandya's place in India's XI may not be guaranteed. (Getty)
Aakash Chopra reckons Hardik Pandya's place in India's XI may not be guaranteed. (Getty)
Updated on Oct 13, 2021 11:08 AM IST
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By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi

Questions continue to circle around India all-rounder Hardik Pandya with the T20 World Cup fast approaching. Pandya has not been a regular bowler since his back surgery in 2019, and his form with the bat has also seen a major dip in the past few months. Fans were hoping for the Mumbai batsman to regain form in the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League, but he struggled to make any significant contributions as MI failed to make it to the playoffs.

Pandya has been included in India's squad for the 2019 World Cup, and cricket pundits believe his presence in the XI would affect team balance if he is not bowling. Former India batsman Aakash Chopra also had his say on the subject in a video recently uploaded on his YouTube channel. In reply to a query by a fan, Chopra raised doubts over Pandya's inclusion in India's XI for the T20 World Cup.

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"When Hardik Pandya was picked in the 15 for the T20 World Cup, the selectors assumed he would be bowling. That's why they named only three fast bowlers in the squad. Hardik was supposed to be used as the fourth bowler," Chopra said.

"I am told, I don't know for sure, that the selectors were given a guarantee Hardik would start bowling soon. But Rohit Sharma recently confirmed that he hasn't bowled a single ball yet. So, he's not bowling, and his batting form is absolutely absent."

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With Pandya not bowling, Chopra is sceptical of the all-rounder's place in the Playing XI and believes that Shardul Thakur could fill in for him. Thakur has been improving with the bat, coming off a crucial half-century for India during the Oval Test against India.

"He (Hardik) might not be in the team. Things can change radically. Six months back he was our most valuable asset. But now, it won't be a surprise if Shardul Thakur comes in. The balance of the side has been affected because Bhuvneshwar Kumar's form is 50:50. That leaves India with only Bumrah and Shami," added Chopra.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021