Hardik Pandya is unlikely to bowl in the first few games of IPL 2021 as per Mumbai Indians’ director of cricket Zaheer Khan. Defending Champions Mumbai Indians lost their opening game off the final delivery against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday. One of the talking points from the game was the lack of bowling from Hardik Pandya. The Indian all-rounder not bowling in this game obviously raised few eyebrows. Addressing them Mumbai’s Director of Cricket Zaheer Khan said that they are trying to manage Hardik’s workload considering a couple of important series lined up later this year.
Hardik Pandya’s bowling workload has been not just on Mumbai but also on India’s agenda for a while after his return from back surgery. During the five-match T20I series against England Hardik bowled 17 overs and was only called to bowl in the final ODI where he bowled nine overs. While talking to media, Khan explained the decision behind Pandya not bowling during first game against RCB.
“It was a workload-related thing in the previous game. He bowled nine overs in the England series. In consultation with the physio, we had to take that approach. There was a little bit of a shoulder concern but it is not worrisome. You will see him bowl very soon. The timeline you will have to ask the physio. In terms of Hardik the bowler coming in this tournament, we are confident that he will be chipping in with the ball in his hand as well.”
However, Zaheer Khan cleared questions about Rohit Sharma going in with limited bowling options. The former Indian cricketer pointed out that the team has Kieron Pollard as their sixth bowling option. Khan further added that Hardik Pandya will resume bowling at the latter stages of IPL 2021.
Zaheer Khan wants MI to be flexible in IPL 2021
Talking IPL 2021, Khan acknowledged the challenges faced by teams due to changes in venues. He believes that Mumbai needs to be flexible this season since they will not be playing in home conditions. MI is currently playing in Chennai. Mumbai will play its next match against KKR. With Quinton de Kock out of quarantine and available for selection, MI will have a selection decision to make. Chris Lynn made an impressive 49 in the match against RCB, but he may have to sit out if MI decides to bring in de Kock.
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