Dubai: Flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s shoulder injury sustained during the T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan is believed to be a minor one. However, the team management has decided to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy regarding Hardik Pandya’s injury. However, he is likely to be available for the next game against New Zealand to be played October 31.
Hardik played the match against Pakistan purely as a batsman. He scored 11 off eight balls Sunday night. He looked distinctly uncomfortable against pacers before being hit on the shoulder by a short ball.
“Yes, Hardik’s scan reports have come and the injury is not very serious. Also the fact that there is a six-day gap between two games gives him enough time to recuperate,” a senior BCCI official said Tuesday. “But obviously, the medical team would wait and watch as to how he shapes up during the training sessions,” the official added.
Hardik had recently said that he would be bowling during the knock-out stages. However, India’s chances of qualifying for that part of the tournament hinge on the New Zealand game. Losing the match would seriously jeopardise India’s prospects of going ahead in the tournament. The games against Scotland, Namibia and Afghanistan are expected to be easy wins for India, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Therefore, if India lose to New Zealand, it will hamper their chances of making it to the top two in the group.
In this scenario, Hardik’s fitness issues have seriously affected India’s balance.
In fact, there are questions being raised about chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma assertions that hardik will be bowling in the IPL to gear up for the World Cup. He didn’t bowl an over in the IPL and the communication on Hardik’s fitness status between the team management and selectors seems baffling at this time.
There have been conflicting reports about when he would start bowling. So no one is exactly sure as to when he would again start bowling.
In such a situation there is a line of thinking that Hardik should be dropped for the New Zealand game and in his place Shardul Thakur should be included in the playing XI. Shardul in the recent past has proved that he is no mean player with the willow and also has the ability to hit big. However, all depends on what skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri will think.