Cricket / Selectors wanted to send Hardik Pandya back but MS Dhoni insisted otherwise: Reports

Zoom News : Oct 30, 2021, 08:55 AM
Cricket Desk: The inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in India’s T20 World Cup squad was under constant scrutiny even before the start of the tournament. The questioning around him being inside the team only increased after he was not seen bowling in the second leg of the Indian Premier League followed by the two practice games India featured in against England and Australia in the build-up for Super12s.

Come the main stage of the tournament, Pandya has continued to play as a specialist batter in the team, as he did against Pakistan. Ahead of India’s next clash, against New Zealand on October 31, Pandya has been deemed fit to participate after he was hit on the shoulder against Pakistan and did not take the field in the second half of the game as he underwent scans.

Recent reports are suggestive that the national selectors were not in favour of including the all-rounder in the main squad, however, Team India mentor and former skipper MS Dhoni insisted them to consider Pandya for his finishing skills.

“The truth is that the selectors wanted to send him back to India after he didn’t bowl in the IPL, but MS Dhoni (appointed Team India mentor) vouched for his finishing skills,” a source in the know of things was quoted as saying by Times of India.

“The whole mystery around his fitness has been going on for the last six months. You’re now saying that he has a shoulder injury. In the bargain, you aren’t giving a chance to a fit guy. You’re playing an unfit guy who isn’t useful to the team. It’s not right. Because of him, you’re neglecting other fit guys who have been performing well,” he further added.

India slotted in all-rounder Shardul Thakur in the squad at the expense of Axar Patel, who was demoted to a reserve before the start of the tournament. However, Thakur was not a part of the XI that took the field against Pakistan in India’s tournament-opener on October 24 in Dubai.

Pandya, who last bowled against Sri Lanka in an away series this July, was spotted bowling in the nets on Wednesday, making the case for his inclusion against New Zealand stronger.