T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya bowls in the nets prior to India’s match against New Zealand

Hardik hasn't bowling in matches since India's tour of Sri Lanka in July.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has returned to bowling in the nets to gain the desired match-fitness before the Men in Blue’s Super 12 match against New Zealand on Sunday, October 31. It has raised the possibility that he could return to bowling during the 2021 T20 World Cup. Hardik bowled for a short span of time before he batted at the nets in Dubai.

Footage of Hardik bowling along with Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did the rounds prior to Scotland’s match against Namibia on Wednesday, October 27 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Hardik last bowled when India toured Sri Lanka for a bilateral series back in July. He didn’t bowl a single ball for the Mumbai Indians in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Rohit Sharma, the MI skipper, said that Pandya was working hard to get back in to shape as far as his bowling was concerned. “In terms of his (Hardik) bowling, the physios, trainers are working. He hasn’t bowled a single ball yet. We wanted to take one match at a time and see where he stands,” Rohit was quoted as saying after MI were knocked out of the 2021 IPL.

Hardik Pandya trying his heart out to return to bowling

On Wednesday, Hardik was involved in fitness drills, which included short sprints under the watchful eyes of physio Nitin Patel and conditioning coach Sohum Desai. MS Dhoni, Team India’s mentor for the World Cup, and head coach Ravi Shastri also kept a close look on Hardik. Vikram Rathour, India’s batting coach, also sent throwdowns to Hardik.

It remains to be seen if he turns up as one of India’s bowling options against Kane Williamson’s Black Caps. When Hardik was picked in the World Cup, it furrowed a lot of eyebrows due to him not bowling enough in recent times. In the game against Pakistan on Sunday, October 24, Hardik played as a specialist batter and scored 11 runs off eight balls.

Before the match against Babar Azam’s Pakistan, skipper Virat Kohli said that he expected Hardik to send down at least a couple of overs if not more. India lost their opening game by 10 wickets after their bowlers failed to pick up a single wicket.

Check the latest updates of the T20 World Cup schedule, T20 World cup Teams and Squads, T20 World Cup Points table, and more on CricTracker.