New Delhi: The T20 World Cup 2021 has started. Team India will kick-off their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24. Just few days ahead of the tournament, the Indian selectors made some changes in the Indian squad and included Shardul Thakur in place of Axar Patel.
Now it is being speculated that Shardul will be picked in India’s playing XI against Pakistan in their opening clash at World Cup. Hardik Pandya, who is currently struggling with poor form, might be benched. Hardik hasn’t bowled for a long time and hasn’t been able to score runs with the bat as well.
Meanwhile, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has revealed how Pandya can make his way in team India’s playing eleven in their first T20 World Cup game against Pakistan.
“For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets,” said Gambhir on Star Sports. India start their campaign against Pakistan, whose captain Babar Azam this year became the fastest batsman to reach 2000 T20I runs.
“There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup,” said Gambhir.
“He has to bowl in the practice matches and the nets, and he has to bowl 100 percent. If you are thinking that you will come and bowl just at 115-120 kph, I will not take that risk,” he added.
Even in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Hardik did not bowl while playing for Mumbai Indians. Shardul Thakur, on the other hand, bagged highest number of wickets for IPL 2021 winning team Chennai Super Kings. He picked 21 wickets this season for CSK.
Not only he’s a great bowler, Shardul can also be effective with the bat as he can score some quick runs during death overs. Shardul was first kept as a reserve player, but later he was included in the 15-man squad in place of Axar Patel.
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