Team India had a memorable outing in their first warm-up game of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021 against England at ICC Academy Ground in Dubai on Monday.
The Virat Kohli-led side chased down the massive target of 189 with seven wickets in hand, thanks to an outstanding batting display by openers KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan. Both the batters put up a clinical show and hammered English bowlers all-round the park with scintillating half-centuries.
Rahul hit 51 off 24 balls with the help of nine boundaries, including three sixes. Similarly, Kishan also shined with the bat and made 70 from 46 deliveries before getting retired hurt.
Despite a stunning night, there were few areas of concern for India, and former wicketkeeper-batter Parthiv Patel pointed out two worries for the ‘Men in Blue’.
Patel reckoned that respective performances of star all-rounder Hardik Pandya and senior bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar could panic the Indian management in order to find the balanced and suitable playing combination.
Hardik didn’t bowl a single over in the match, while Bhuvi conceded 54 runs off his 4 overs without taking a wicket. Notably, after picking the Baroda all-rounder in the T20 World Cup squad, the selection committee had clearly mentioned that Pandya is ready to bowl four overs in every match for India. Not to forget, Pandya didn’t bowl for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the recently concluded UAE leg of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
Patel felt that based on the warm-up fixture against England, it is unlikely that India would persist with Hardik, and there could be a chance of Shardul Thakur getting a spot in the final XI when the 2007 T20 World Cup winners start their campaign against Pakistan on October 24.
“I don’t think Hardik is going to bowl in the first few games looking at the way Virat Kohli has used only five bowlers,” said Patel on Star Sports.
“Yes, I’m worried about Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He looks in the kind of form which he had in the IPL, where he took just six wickets, but yeah, he looked out of rhythm, almost as if he didn’t practice. We might just see Shardul Thakur in the next game. It might be a combination that we might see,” he added.