ICC posts video of Hardik Pandya's bowling, Indian fans breathe easy ahead of New Zealand clash
Hardik Pandya's bowling fitness, especially after India's 10-wicket against Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2021 opener, appears to be biggest talking point in Indian cricket right now. And there are reasons for that. For a proud cricketing nation that has produced some of the greatest batters and bowlers over the years, India have significantly lacked in the seam-bowling all-rounder department after the Kapil Dev era until the emergence of Hardik Pandya. The Baroda all-rounder has been lending balance to the Indian limited-overs sides in the last 5-6 years like no other cricketer did in recent memory.
It's only in the last 12 months or so that question marks have again been raised on the balance of the Indian side mainly due to Pandya's back injury that has prevented him from bowling regularly.
Pandya did not bowl in the entire Australia tour in 2021-21 and in the second-leg of IPL 2021. His bowling credentials, and that too sporadic, were only in the Sri Lanka tour in between.
At such a time, the short video that ICC shared on its Instagram and Twitter handles about Pandya bowling, albeit gingerly, in India's practice sessions, is sure to give oxygen to the millions of Team India fans.
Pandya, who did not take the field against Pakistan due to a blow to his arms, started to roll his arms over in India's first training session on Wednesday ahead of their crucial encounter against New Zealand.
BCCI shared photos of Pandya bowling under watchful eyes of captain Virat Kohli, coach Ravi Shastri and mentor MS Dhoni.
ICC's video, posted on Friday, confirmed that the Indian think tank is seriously considering to throw the ball to Pandya for their Sunday encounter against New Zealand. The all-rounder was seen bowling in the Indian nets even on Thursday.
However, he still looked far from regaining full fitness. The video suggested that Pandya was not bowling with a full run-up. He just took a few steps and completed his action.
Kohli did suggest that Pandya would could bowl at least two overs if needed at some point in the World Cup. It appears, that the time has come, as the winner of the India-New Zealand encounter is likely to take giant step towards ensuring qualification for semi-finals. Both the sides have lost to Pakistan, the eventual favourites to finish as the top-ranked side from Group 2.
“I honestly feel that Hardik Pandya presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament,” Kohli had said.