All-rounder Hardik Pandya went through fitness drills and bowled in the nets for the first time in months during India’s practise session on Wednesday, ahead of the important 2021 men’s T20 World Cup match against New Zealand. According to sources, Pandya went through many conditioning drills with team physio Nitin Patel and assistant trainer Soham Desai after playing only as a batsman in India’s first World T20 encounter against Pakistan. After that, he bowled for about 20 minutes in one of the nets to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur.

Hardik Pandya’s progress was constantly observed by captain Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri, and team mentor MS Dhoni. During India’s tour of Sri Lanka in July, the all-rounder bowled a handful of overs in a T20I. During the IPL’s UAE leg, though, he did not bowl a single over for Mumbai Indians.

Pandya’s selection in the T20 World Cup squad was questioned by many experts. Shardul Thakur’s bowling fitness also pushed national selectors to choose him over Axar Patel for India’s 15-man team. Pandya was hit on the right shoulder while batting in the Pakistan game, and he did not return to the field after India’s innings. He had a scan afterwards, which indicated nothing alarming. Hardik’s bowling in the nets is encouraging for India’s cricket squad, which has been without a sixth bowling option in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

India has been struggling with the difficulty of the sixth bowling option due to Hardik Pandya not bowling his quota of overs. Several cricket gurus and former players have weighed in on the subject. Former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is the most recent addition to the list. In ICC events, India has a strong record against Pakistan. The Men in Green, on the other hand, ended India’s 12-match World Cup winning streak with a resounding triumph. Given that India’s next match is against a Kane Williamson-led team, Haddin believes that the Virat Kohli-led side may need to consider inserting an all-rounder in the lineup, which might lead to Pandya being benched.