India vs England 2nd ODI did not turn out to be victorious for India and the credit goes to India bowlers and great batting prowess of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. After the match, the one question that every cricket fan has been asking is about the absence of Hardik Pandya as a bowler. Hardik had given incredible performances in the T20I series against England. This included a match-altering bowling performance in the fourth match wherein he took four wickets just for 16 runs. After such a marvelous performance he did deserve a chance to bowl in the ODI.
Hardik could break the partnership
When Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were making the situation hopeless for the Indian bowlers, every cricket fan expected to see Hardik on the field but there was no sign of him. Hardik’s brother, Krunal Pandya turned out to be the worst of the lot. He gave 72 runs off six overs with an economy rate of 12 runs an over.
Hardik on the other hand, is known for his partnership breaking bowling and that is why India could have turned to him but Kohli did not use this valuable bowler. The Indian skipper expressed his reasons behind the decision of not using Hardik Pandya as a bowler in the match.
Hardik needs to be fit
Virat Kohli said that it is to be understood where his skill set is needs as a bowler and where it is needed as a batsman. The team needs to manage Hardik’s body. It is workload management according to the skipper. Hardik was used in the T20Is as a bowler but the skipper needs to ensure that the bowler is “fit and strong because he’s going to be an important part of the squad”.
Hardik had to undergo intense rehab after his back surgery in September 2019. When cricket resumed after forced quarantine that had restricted all the sports, Hardik played for Mumbai Indians and his role in the team was restricted to being a batsman. The first time Hardik resumed bowling in international cricket was in December against Australia the last December. Then he was used as a bowler in the T20Is against England.
Save the best
With World Test Championship and T20 World Cup awaiting the team around the year-end, it is important for team India to have one valuable player fit for big events and this is what the skipper is doing perhaps by keeping Hardik off the field.