With Hardik's bowling plans in doubt, selectors mull extra bowler for T20 World Cup

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10 Oct 2021 | 06:31 PM
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With Hardik's bowling plans in doubt, selectors mull extra bowler for T20 World Cup

Hardik Pandya is most likely to stay away from bowling, which gives the selection committee an extra headache

The BCCI selection committee, led by Chetan Sharma, is fretting over inclusion of an additional fast bowler in India's World Cup squad as Hardik Pandya's chances of bowling during the tournament look dim after not bowling a single over during Mumbai Indians' disappointing IPL campaign.

The BCCI has five more days to make any change to the squad (other than injury). The ICC has allowed all the Super 12 teams a window of one week till October 15 to make any required change.

For the Round-1 teams, the deadline for changing squad (without injury) ends on October 10, midnight (Dubai time). It is still not sure whether Hardik, who has bowled sporadically since he suffered stress fracture in his back two years ago, will bowl full tilt at winner-takes-it-all event or will only concentrate on batting.

"Indian team is at least one fast bowler short in the main squad of 15. They have two experienced campaigners in Shardul Thakur, who is also a handy bowling all-rounder and Deepak Chahar, who has shown his batting prowess in Sri Lanka in the stand byes.

"So in case Hardik is not able to bowl, one of the two can be fitted in by the Committee," a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Recently, Mumbai Indians' IPL campaign suffered as they couldn't find that balance in the middle-order with Hardik not bowling even a single over. In fact MI skipper Rohit Sharma didn't put a timeline on when Hardik would be able to bowl.

"In terms of his (Hardik) bowling, the physios, trainers are working. He hasn't bowled a single ball yet. We wanted to take one match at a time and see where he stands," Rohit said after MI's last IPL game.

"He is getting better day by day. In the next week or so, he might be able to bowl, who knows? Only the doctors and physios will be able to give an update on that," Rohit had added.

Till October 15, if selectors feel that Hardik's utility is less than half, Deepak or Shardul have a good enough chance of making it but it seems curtains for Yuzvendra Chahal as far as this tournament is concerned.

"The only option is if Varun Chakravarthy, who has dodgy knees, is ruled out by Indian team's support staff then Yuzi can get in. Selectors can pick him among stand byes so that if Chakravarthy's fitness becomes a concern, he can be drafted."

Umran Malik is already there in the India bio-bubble as net bowler. It will be interesting to see if Shivam Mavi is considered a net bowler.

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