Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has come down hard on Hardik Pandya for his poor run with the bat and inability to contribute in the bowling department. Gambhir has raised questions on Pandya’s selection in the 15-member T20 World Cup squad.
Pandya was supposed to resume bowling in the ongoing UAE leg of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 for Mumbai Indians (MI). But the defending champions haven’t given him the responsibility to bowl in all the six matches played in the second half of the fourteenth season.
In fact, MI’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene had said that Pandya is not ready to bowl yet, and the management does not want to put extra workload on him.
Notably, after naming the Baroda all-rounder in the T20 World Cup outfit, the selection committee had said Pandya is ready to bowl four overs in every match for the ‘Men in Blue’. But, so far, he hasn’t bowled a single over in the UAE leg, which has raised several questions.
Gambhir termed Pandya as the biggest upset for MI this year. He mentioned that Pandya only plays white-ball cricket and hasn’t delivered this year.
“For me, I think the biggest upset through this batting line-up is Hardik Pandya. He hasn’t played any cricket, he is just one format player for me now. He only plays white-ball cricket, and he hasn’t delivered this year,” said Gambhir in the T20 Time out show on ESPNcricinfo.
The cricketer-turned-politician said Pandya needs to have some overs under the belt if he wants to bowl in the multi-team tournament and to do that, he should start bowling in the upcoming IPL games for MI.
“He’s got in the T20 World Cup side, and he hasn’t bowl either, so that’s a huge surprise because selectors probably will have to answer this whether he’s gonna bowl 4 overs in the World Cup and if he decides to bowl those 4 overs, does he have that bowling under him?.”
“If he decides to bowl during the World Cup, he needs to start bowling from now on, whether it’s a one over or two over per game so that he can deliver during the World Cup because that’s gonna be the main tournament where India probably will be looking to win that tournament,” added Gambhir.
Gambhir further asserted that Pandya can not be part of the best playing XI of India if he fails to bowl in the global showpiece event.
“If he doesn’t bowl during the World Cup, then it’s very difficult for me to put him in the playing XI because I don’t think he can be a part of the best playing XI that India can have,” Gambhir added further.