India star cricketer Hardik Pandya on Wednesday was seen bowling in the nets for the first time in months, raising the possibility of him returning to the side for the crucial T20 World Cup game against New Zealand as an all-rounder and giving India a much needed sixth bowling option. (More Cricket News)
India find themselves in a must-win situation after the 10-wicket hammering they received at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan.
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Hardik played as a specialist batter against Pakistan but failed to live up to the expectations, scoring just 11 off eight balls. His inability to bowl has disturbed the balance of team India.
The flamboyant Baroda man, who last rolled his arm over in the Sri Lanka series in July, did not bowl a single over in the second leg of the IPL in the UAE for Mumbai Indians.
Hardik had also hurt his shoulder while batting against Pakistan and did not take the field after India's innings as he had to go for precautionary scans.
Earlier in the day, Hardik went through fitness drills, which included short sprints, under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Sohum Desai and physiologist Nitin Patel.
We are back!
A fun drill to start our session. #TeamIndia #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/lCmla6hcfT— BCCI (@BCCI) October 27, 2021
After that, he bowled close to 20 minutes to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur in one of the nets. India chief coach Ravi Shastri and mentor Mahendra Singh Dhoni closely monitored Hardik's progress.
Following his brief bowling stint, Hardik took throwdowns from batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Hardik's inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad has raised a few eyebrows because of his fitness concerns, which forced India to make a change in their 15-member squad with reserve player Shardul Thakur swapping places with Axar Patel.
Ahead of the Pakistan game, skipper Virat Kohli had said that he expects Hardik to bowl at least two overs at some stage during the tournament.