“I want to bowl in all games at the T20 World Cup”: Hardik Pandya

By Mumbai Indians

All-rounder Hardik Pandya has not been contributing with the ball for a while now keeping in mind his workload management after a shoulder niggle before IPL 2021. However, we believe that if he is available with the ball, then it will add a balance to the side, and Hardik agrees.

Speaking to TOI Sportscast, Pandya said that after his back surgery in 2019, he wants to come back in full swing with the bowling for the T20 World Cup later this year. The only time he prominently picked up the ball was when he bowled 9 overs in the final ODI against England in March this year.

“For India, My bowling brings a lot of difference”

Hardik reinstated that having time to pick up batting after surgery was important too, which he got with his IPL franchise, Mumbai Indians. However, to be in the Indian cricket team, he needs to sharpen his bowling as it brings an extra asset to the table.

“For India, I have realised that my bowling brings a lot of difference because the balance changes. In IPL, I am lucky to have a franchise where there is so much love that I was able to pick my batting there and make sure that for India, I am able to be at my best. I have to make sure I am fit to be able to bowl and if I bowl, that brings balance to the side.”

“I started bowling in the IPL and my focus is on the World Cup. I want to make sure that I will be able to bowl in all the games at the [T20] World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don't miss that. On the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am.”

“Even after my surgery, I didn't drop my pace. I was not able to drop my control. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. As a fast-bowling allrounder, I tend to get injuries. It is bound to happen and I am okay with it."

“Focus is on getting ready for Sri Lanka and then the World Cup”

The Indian cricket team, too, seems to be preserving Hardik for the shorter formats of the game. While he was not picked in the team travelling to England for the World Test Championships and the five Tests against England, he will be flying to Sri Lanka for the three ODIs and three T20s from July 13.

Hardik, on the other hand, has been ready for this. He has got three weeks of rest for his body and some family time before starting to train for the Sri Lankan tour. He views this tour as a stepping stone to getting ready for the T20 World Cup, and how he wants to ensure he can give his 100% for the same.

“Whenever I play, I don't want to play at 50%. [When] I play, I will play at 100%," he said. "When I heard that we were going to Sri Lanka, I was planning to rest for 3-4 weeks and just not do anything. I was on the road for seven to eight months and for those months, I was preparing myself for one-and-a-half years.”

He further explains, “Just before the lockdown, I made a comeback in the DY Patil (T20s in February) and then Covid hit. Then I had to remain fit because I wasn't at my best at that time.”

Hardik has his goals set clear. “For the Sri Lanka tour, I will start my preparation from tomorrow (Saturday). Focus is on getting ready for Sri Lanka and then obviously, the World Cup." We do hope to see more of Hardik, the bowler, soon!