Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ director of cricket, ahead of team’s clash versus Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Tuesday, has said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya as a package was very important for the 5-times champions.
He also ensured that the 27-year-old, who did not bowl an over in the IPL 2021 opener vs RCB, will soon be available for bowling. Zaheer acknowledged West Indies stalwart Kieron Pollard as the sixth bowler for MI.
“Hardik as a whole package is of great value. You will see him bowl very soon. Pollard is our sixth bowling option. He is an experienced campaigner in our squad. Also, Hardik too joins the fray whenever he resumes,” Zaheer Khan said in a virtual press conference.
Opener Chris Lynn after Mumbai’s 2-wicket defeat against Bangalore had revealed shoulder niggle as the reason behind Hardik now bowling in the match. The Gujarat-born was seen underarming his throws while fielding.
“I’m not a hundred percent sure but it’s a bit of a shoulder niggle. I think Hardik Pandya, not bowling is maybe more precautionary. He’s played a fair bit of cricket leading up to this tournament, in which he has to play (minimum) 14 games as well.
“So you don’t want to throw your eggs in one basket and risk injury. The physios and the staff doctors will treat Hardik if there’s something wrong.
“He is a huge factor with the bat but if he gets bowling, then it adds another dimension to the team. We might have been missing the sixth bowler tonight but it’s early stages in the tournament. I do believe if Hardik is bowling then it brings out confidence in his batting as well. So fingers crossed we’ll see him with the ball sooner rather than later,” Lynn had said in the post-match press conference.