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India vs Sri Lanka: Hardik Pandya’s form and fitness is a concern | Cricket News – Times of India

July 21, 2021

If the selectors and the Indian team management are looking to rate Hardik Pandya’s bowling during India’s limited overs tour of Sri Lanka, the early signs are not looking good.
Sporting a bandana, the all-rounder has bowled a total of nine overs in the first two ODIs, in which he has conceded 54 runs while taking one wicket. On Tuesday, in the second ODI at the Premadasa Stadium, the Baroda man bowled just four overs, in which he gave away 20 runs and didn’t pick a wicket.
To make it worse, he was out for a two-ball duck, driving Sri Lankan captain Dashun Shanaka straight to mid-wicket.
Worryingly, the seamer was seen clutching his waist and grimacing in pain, raising fears that his severe lower back injury — which has forced him to miss plenty of cricket and needed a massive surgery in 2019 — may have flared up again.
Apart from the fact that he looked in pain, it is also slightly concerning that the 27-year-old has looked lacklustre with the ball so far, which is understandable considering that he didn’t bowl at all in the IPL this summer. He has played as the third seamer in the side, but if he continues to bowl so flat and so less, then India would have to think hard before they consider him as a proper all-rounder for the T20 World Cup in UAE.
Former India off-spinner Sarandeep Singh, who was a national selector till last year, felt that Hardik could be bowling less in the ODI series as the team was looking at him to deliver his quota of four overs per game in the T20 World Cup.
“He’s had injury issues in the past. He is hardly bowling in ODIs these days. Perhaps, he’s bowling only 4-5 overs (per game in the ODI series) as they are looking at him as a bowler too in the T20 World Cup, and he’s coming off an injury,” Sarandeep told TOI.
However, the ex-selector wants Hardik to bat at No3, and not No 6. “There’s no question about his immense batting abilities. However, considering that he’s a key player for India in T20Is, it would make sense to send him up the order at No 3 instead of Ishan Kishan.”

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