'I could also have bowled 1 or 2 overs': Kohli addresses need for 6th bowler; gives status update on Hardik's bowling
Team India captain Virat Kohli has admitted to the need of having a sixth bowling option in the side for the ongoing T20 World Cup after questions over all-rounder Hardik Pandya's fitness continue to soar. The Baroda all-rounder is yet to bowl in the UAE and Kohli has stated that Hardik "has to be fit to be able to bowl one or two overs".
Right-arm medium-pacer Pandya did not bowl a single delivery across the last two IPL editions and did not roll his arm in the two warm-up games as well as the first Super 12 match against Pakistan.
However, he did return to bowling in the nets recently by skipper Kohli didn't give any assurance that the all-rounder would be bowling against New Zealand but indicated that he himself might roll his arm over if India happen to bowl first.
"It's very important to have a sixth bowling option -- whether through me or Hardik (Pandya). He should have to be fit to be able to bowl one or two overs," Kohli said on the eve of the New Zealand game.
According to Kohli, it would be the game situation that would dictate if they require an additional bowler, which has been India's bane over the past year since Pandya isn't half as effective post his lower-back surgery.
"Game situation dictates when to use your sixth bowling option. In our last match, if they (Pakistan) batted first, I could also have bowled one or two overs.
"But in the second innings when we needed wickets, we just had to bowl our primary bowlers. It's not that a team with six-seven bowling options doesn't lose," the skipper said.
Kohli confirmed that Pandya was "fine" as far as his shoulder injury was concerned but also dropped hints that Shardul Thakur is still not in the scheme of playing eleven as of now but could figure in future.
"Hardik is absolutely fine, if you're talking about the blow on his shoulder," Kohli said adding that Shardul was also in their “plan”.
(With Agency inputs)