Hardik Pandya’s T20 World Cup selection depends on his bowling

While the IPL carnival is in full swing, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) focus is on the upcoming T20 World Cup in June. It is learned that selection committee chairman Ajit Agarkar, head coach Rahul Dravid, and captain Rohit Sharma met at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai last week and the main discussion was on Hardik Pandya’s inclusion.

Team India is looking for options for seam-bowling all-rounders and the new Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Hardik Pandya was expected to be the primary choice. However, his poor form in the ongoing IPL has reportedly worried the team management. Often plagued by injuries, Hardik has failed to live up to expectations with the bat and ball while his captaincy is also under scrutiny as Mumbai Indians have lost four of their six matches so far.

Furthermore, Hardik has so far bowled in four of the six matches. He opened the attack for MI in the first two games against Gujarat Titans (GT) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and did not bowl in the next two matches. He bowled one over against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and bowled three in their last match against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The 30-year has conceded an economy rate of 12.00 and has only three wickets to his name in the season.

Against CSK, Hardik conceded 26 runs in the final over of the innings, including three consecutive sixes to MS Dhoni, which proved to be the difference in MI’s 20-run defeat. As per an Indian Express report, Hardik’s selection in India’s T20 World Cup squad will depend on how well and how often he bowls in the remainder of the ongoing IPL.

“In a meeting between India head coach Rahul Dravid, chairman of the selection committee Ajit Agarkar and captain Rohit Sharma at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai last week, it’s understood that a decision was taken that Hardik has to bowl regularly if he wants to make a comeback,” the report stated.

Shivam Dube knocking doors

Shivam Dube has revamped his game ever since he joined CSK. The southpaw has been one of the most consistent performers for the five-time champions and his ability to ruthlessly demolish the spinners is something India will seek in the World Cup. His game against pace bowlers has also improved and the selectors are keeping an eye on him.

However, India is looking for a seam bowling all-rounder and Dube has not bowled in the IPL so far, often being an impact player where he only uses his batting ability. This gives Hardik an advantage and India will be happy to get him back to his prime to bring stability to an already strong batting unit.