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Hardik Pandya Eyeing Return To Bowling In T20 World Cup

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He will bowl only when the time is right, said India’s top all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Friday, urging the team to groom other players with multiple skill-sets after his bowling was badly missed in the opening ODI loss to Australia. The flamboyant all-rounder, who is remodelling his action after a back surgery, is still not ready for that workload which is affecting the balance of the side, an admission that came from skipper Virat Kohli himself. “I am working on my bowling. I am going to come in when the time is right,” Pandya, who scored 90 off 76 balls during his team’s 66-run loss on Friday, said at the post-match press conference.

The Indians conceded 374 runs to the home team. For the Baroda man, it is important that once he starts bowling in match situations, he is able to deliver at optimum speeds required for producing quality performances.

“I want to be at 100 per cent of my bowling capacity. I want to bowl at speeds that are required at the international level,” said the all-rounder, who has started bowling in the nets. With another 10 months left for the ICC T20 World Cup, Pandya indicated that starting bowling is something that he wants to do keeping long-term goals and big events in mind. 

“We are thinking about long term. We are thinking about the T20 World Cup and other important tournaments where my bowling will be of even more importance,” he said.

“When you’ve 375 to chase, everyone has to play with intent. Nothing else one can do. You cannot be planning too much.” Pandya made no bones that India should also look at all-round options considering that a sixth bowling option is a must for balance of an ODI team.

“I think, maybe, we will have to find someone who has already played India and groom them and find a way to make them play,” he said. “It is always going to be difficult when you go with five bowlers, because then if somebody is having an off day, you won’t have someone to fulfill (that role),” he said about a collective flop-show by the Indian bowling.

“…..more than injury, it is about the sixth bowler’s role. If someone is having a bad day, so the other guys gets more cushion,” he said. 

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Asked about options available, the junior Pandya in a tongue-in-cheek reply urged the selectors to look at his elder brother Krunal, who is a spin bowing all-rounder.

“…may be you can name it who all are there… maybe we should look in the Pandya family only,” he quipped.

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