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T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya to be included in India’s playing11 only if he bowls at 100 per cent fitness, says Gautam Gambhir

Hardik Pandya's bowling woes continue to affect all rounder's performance and place in playing11.

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Hardik Pandya will have to bowl consistently for him to be considered all-rounder: Kapil Dev
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Hardik Pandya to be included in India’s playing11 only if he bowls at 100 per cent fitness, says Gautam Gambhir.

T20 World Cup 2021: Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir feels that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is only going to get a place in India’s playing11 if he bowls in the practice matches. 

The swashbuckling all-rounder is going through a pale patch in his career with both form and injuries. His back injury dates back to 2019, however, the cricketer has failed to recover until now. Though he has played limited-overs cricket as a batter, his services with the ball are still due.

Pandya, throughout the entire Vivo IPL 2021, didn’t ball a single delivery which came up as a worrying sign for the selectors, who earlier claimed him to be 100 per cent fit to compete at the highest level. Mumbai Indians (MI) kept Hardik in the playing11 as a proper batsman for 14 IPL 2021 matches.

His batting form is not encouraging either. Pandya managed to score 127 runs at a poor strike rate of 113.39.

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The cricketer-turned-politician feels that Hardik can only fit into India’s T20 World Cup playing11 if he begins to bowl at 100 per cent fitness.

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“For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets. There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup.”

Gambhir further added that no captain will take a risk to hand over the ball to a bowler who bowls at 120kmph, which is way below his proper pace.

“He has to bowl in the practice matches and the nets, and he has to bowl 100 per cent. If you are thinking that you will come and bowl just at 115-120 kph, I will not take that risk.”

Team India recently included all-rounder Shardul Thakur to India’s T20 World Cup squad in place of Axar Patel. The CSK all-rounder did exceedingly well in the recently completed IPL 2021, which his team won. Thakur managed to pick up 21 wickets from 16 appearances for CSK. He can be picked ahead of Hardik Pandya if he fails to deliver with the ball.

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The World Cup winning cricketer also said that if India goes with five bowlers and six batsmen, then he is probably not looking at Hardik Pandya as a batsman as well. He picked up Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik owing to the form of the players.

“If I have to go with just five bowlers, then I will pick Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya on current form. If you are going with five proper bowlers and six batsmen, Hardik’s form is probably a massive concern. Forget about the bowling, with the bat as well.”

Team India is scheduled to play two warm-up fixtures before the all-important clash against Pakistan on 24th October.

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