Hardik Pandya might not be bowling, but he knows his spot in the Indian team is on the line, especially after the arrival of Venkatesh Iyer who can not only hit lusty blows, but can also bat well in the lower middle order. That’s why a lot of people are already saying that the whole nation will be eyeing Pandya’s progress in IPL 2022 where he will also lead Gujarat Titans in their opening game against Lucknow Super Giants. When Ashish Nehra, team mentor, was asked about Pandya’s bowling status in the upcoming match, he gave a rather vague answer.
“When I saw him in Baroda, he was good, bowling around 80%. That was a few weeks back and he was feeling really comfortable. Since then he went to the NCA and has been practicing non-stop.”
“From day one I have been saying, in any T20 squad, I will take Hardik Pandya as a pure batter. As far as our franchise is concerned, I am looking at him more as a captain and batsman. And maybe that is why he is saying his bowling is a ‘surprise’,” Nehra told ESPN Cricinfo.
Nehra’s answer doesn’t augur well for those who would have loved to see Pandya bowl in the shortest format of the game. It seems, that the Baroda all-rounder is in no mood to roll over his arm. Meanwhile he also emphasized on the role of Mohammed Shami who was bought for a whopping Rs 6.5 Cr deal.
“I have played with him in my last few years. In the last three or four years the kind of experience and the kind of maturity he has shown… the two fast bowlers in India we always discuss are Shami and Bumrah. And it is not one or two series,” said the former India bowler.
“The kind of fitness he has shown, the kind of long spells he has shown, it is really exciting to see. The price we got him for was a steal. For this team, he is a senior pro,” he further added.