Fast-bowling all-rounders are rare commodities in cricket. Not many teams are blessed with such talents. Team India truly seems to be missing this privilege, with Hardik Pandya not bowling anymore due to back issues. But will Hardik every bowl again?
The absence of a pace-bowling all-rounder was truly visible in the Indian team when it played Australia in the white-ball contests Down Under in the 2020-21 season. Though Ravindra Jadeja has stepped up his game as an all-rounder, the Indian team still doesn’t have a batsman who can do seam-bowling.
Speaking to the Times of India, Hardik revealed his bowling plans, especially keeping this year’s ICC T20 World Cup in mind.
“For me, I want to make sure, and I will be able to, that I bowl in all the games of the (T20) World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don’t miss that. My full focus is on the World Cup,” Hardik told the ‘TOI Sportcast’.
Hardik was even dropped from the India Test team as his status had changed from an ‘all-rounder’ to ‘pure batsman’. He is now working on his fitness to be able to resume bowling and fully serve Team India at the T20 World Cup.
“Yes, on the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am. Even after my surgery, I didn’t drop my pace. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. Whenever I play, I don’t want to play at 50%. (When) I play, I will play at 100%,” he says.
Hardik did bowl a few overs against Australia in India’s limited-over series Down Under but looked a little uncomfortable. Hardik then bowled 17 overs in the 5-match T20I series against England but wasn’t used as a bowler in ODIs. The 27-year-old has stayed away from bowling since then.