The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is all set to begin soon after the completion of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and players have been using the cash-rich tournament to get their form in shape.
With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) already announcing the squad for the tournament, they have been cautious of Hardik Pandya and increasing his workload ever since he returned from back surgery last year.
The all-rounder was hardly given the ball even though chief selector Chetan Sharma had asserted at the time of announcing the T20 World Cup squad that he was perfectly fit to bowl.
Moreover, playing for Mumbai Indians (MI), Pandya has featured as a pure batsman in IPL 2021. He even missed the first two matches in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE leg. He did bowl in the first leg of the tournament in India as well due to niggle issues.
While his fitness has been an issue, it has reportedly left BCCI thinking about the same ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup.
However, Team India coach Ravi Shastri has said, “He (Hardik) is very much a confidence player and sometimes when you’re not a 100 per cent, it can play on your mind so it was important from Mumbai Indians’ point of view that he first go on to the park and then scored the runs.
“It was very important (to gradually bring Hardik to a competitive match). I’ve known Hardik for a long time… he’s very much a confidence player, once he gets into the groove then he can string 4-5 match-winning scores,” added Shastri.
As for Pandya’s form, he seems to be gradually getting back into the groove after he had smashed an unbeaten 30-ball 40 for Mumbai Indians and helped them defeat Punjab Kings by six wickets on September 28.
The 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from 17 October to 14 November 2021.
Team India squad for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE and Oman: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant(w), Ishan Kishan(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Reserves: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur