New Delhi: Team India captain Virat Kohli on Sunday acknowledged the need for a “sixth bowling option” but was reluctant to comment when asked to confirm about all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s availability as a bowler for India vs New Zealand T20 World Cup match. Ahead of Sunday’s crucial match against New Zealand, Kohli said the Baroda player “is absolutely fit”. However, he did not confirm whether Hardik will bowl against New Zealand or not.
“It’s very important to have a sixth bowling option — whether through me or Hardik (Pandya). He should have to be fit to be able to bowl one or two overs,” Kohli said on the eve of Ind vs NZ World Cup game.
“Game situation dictates when to use your sixth bowling option. In our last match, if they (Pakistan) batted first, I could also have bowled one or two overs.
“But in the second innings when we needed wickets, we just had to bowl our primary bowlers. It’s not that a team with six-seven bowling options doesn’t lose,” Kohli said.
In India’s T20 World Cup opening game against Pakistan, Virat Kohli had decided to prefer Hardik over Shardul Thakur in India’s playing XI. During the virtual press conference, the Indian skipper did not reveal if he was planning to again pick Pandya over Shardul in India vs New Zealand match.
“Shardul is definitely a guy who’s in our plans constantly, making a case for himself. He is definitely someone who can bring in a lot of value to the team.
“What role he plays or where he fits in I cannot talk about it right now. But Shardul is someone who’s got great potential and he will add great value to the team,” Kohli said.
Questions are being raised over Hardik Pandya’s fitness and his availability as bowler after he did not bowl a single delivery for Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 Phase 2 in UAE.
The Indian team for the T20 World Cup is as follows: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakraborty, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.
Standby- Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar.
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