Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene said if Hardik Pandya bowls in the IPL, it may hurt his chances as a batter.
Hardik, picked as an all-rounder for the T20 World Cup with India’s chief selector Chetan Sharma stressing he will “bowl in every match”, missed the first two games of the second leg and hasn’t bowled in any of the matches he has played so far.
“Whether he can bowl in the IPL or not is something that we will have to look at on a daily basis and evaluate and then see how he progresses. I understand all concerns, but we need to do what’s best for Hardik and him going forward. He will be an asset as a bowler as well,” Jayawardene said on Friday, ahead of MI’s tie against on-song Delhi Capitals.
“But at the moment if we push too hard, it might be an issue where he might even struggle and not be an asset as a batter. So that’s something that we will have to take into account with all concerned parties and take it a day at a time.”
Jayawardene admitted Hardik, who has been struggling with a back injury since 2018, had an additional niggle in the lead-up to the IPL, without giving out the details.
“Because he hasn’t bowled since Sri Lanka for a longer period of time and he had another niggle and managed getting through that proces,” Jayawardene said.
“I understand the World Cup (is to follow) as well. We are talking to the Indian team management and making sure that as soon as he feels comfortable, we get him to the bowling programme and prepare him.”
Wobbly middle order
Despite Hardik and Kieron Pollard coming good with the willow against Punjab Kings earlier in the week, an in-form Capitals bowling unit will be keen to expose MI’s wobbly middle order.
Having put one foot in the Playoffs, Rishabh Pant and Co. will hope to continue the mini-battle against Chennai Super Kings for the top spot in the table.
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