Kapil Dev said Hardik Pandya not bowling will not impact India’s chances at the T20 World Cup but it will certainly affect the team combination in crunch matches in the showpiece event.
Kapil Dev’s comments came after Hardik refrained from bowling in India’s warm-up match against England in Dubai. India operated with 5 ful-time bowling options and conceded 188 runs before chasing it down in 20 overs. Hardik played as a specialist batsman but struggled to get going in the latter half of India’s chase.
Hardik has not bowled for India since the home series against England earlier this year. The Mumbai Indians all-rounder kept away from bowling during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 too. However, the team management have backed Hardik, retaining him in the 15-man squad.
India initially picked as many as 5 spinners in the T20 World Cup squad but fast-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur replaced left-arm spinner Axar Patel.
“An all-rounder always makes a massive difference to a team. Hardik not bowling will not impact India’s chances, but it will make a difference in terms of Kohli’s options. If an all-rounder is available for both , it enhances the captain’s ability to rotate bowlers and gives him the extra option to fall back on,” Kapil Dev told Sportskeeda.
“In Hardik’s case, India should be okay given the talent in the team, but him bowling even 2 overs will obviously lend more flexibility. That said, I believe India does have the firepower in the team to make up for the deficiency,” he added.
Hardik Pandya has not been bowling as he is recovering from recurring back injury issues. Kapil Dev said it’s important that the all-rounder begins to bowl at the nets, stressing that injury concerns are difficult to deal with, especially in an all-rounder’s case.
“If you are able to bowl 40-50 balls in the nets, it builds up the confidence in any player to bowl in a match, otherwise it is that much more difficult to be fully committed. If you don’t practice in the nets, you won’t have confidence in your bowling. Any type of injury hampers a player’s ability.”
India won the warm-up match by 7 wickets on Monday. They take on Australia in thief final warm-up match on Wednesday before the big-ticket clash against Pakistan on Sunday in Dubai.