Focusing on overall fitness, Hardik Pandya asks selectors to not consider him for a while

Hardik Pandya, the Indian all-rounder, is said to have asked the national selectors not to consider him for a while as he works on regaining full health. Pandya has been unable to contribute with the ball for both India and his IPL team, the Mumbai Indians, since undergoing back surgery in 2019. Meanwhile, according to ESPNcricinfo, Pandya wants to return to full-time bowling and has requested the selectors to grant him time to do so. The 28-year-old was a member of India’s T20 World Cup squad, but he only bowled twice in five games (without picking up a wicket), despite chief selector Chetan Sharma’s confidence in him bowling the entire quota of his overs when announcing the Indian squad for the competition.

Pandya’s bowling fitness was continually assessed during the IPL before the T20 World Cup in the UAE, but he did not bowl in any of the 12 games he was a part of over both legs of the event. In fact, Pandya last bowled in the IPL in 2019, and he only featured as a batter in the 2020 season.

Pandya was not selected for India’s last home T20I series against New Zealand, which India won 3-0, and it is understood he would not be considered for the impending tour of South Africa, which is in doubt due to the introduction of a new Covid-19 type in the African countries. Despite fears that Pandya’s inclusion as a pure batter might detract from India’s balance, Virat Kohli has advocated for his inclusion as a specialized hitter. Before India’s T20 World Cup campaign began in October, Kohli noted in a virtual chat that “what he contributes at that No.6 place is something you cannot create overnight.”

“We recognize the value he contributes to the team as a No. 6 batsman, and if you look across the globe of cricket, you’ll see that there are specialists who perform that job. It’s critical to have someone who can play an impact inning at that time, especially in T20 cricket. He’s someone who can play a long inning even when things aren’t going well. So that’s a lot more beneficial to us than pressuring him to do something he’s not ready for right now.”