Former Indian cricketer Saba Karim has raised questions on the inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the Indian team for the upcoming 2021 T20 World Cup. As Hardik Pandya has been rested in Mumbai Indians first two games of the UAE leg of IPL 2021, Karim has questioned whether Hardik’s selection is justified or not.
It is worth noting that India’s chief selector Chetan Sharma while announcing India’s T20 World Cup squad asserted that Pandya is fit and will bowl in T20I cricket. However, not seeing Pandya in MI’s playing XI due to injury has forced Karim to speak out.
Was Hardik fit when World Cup team was announced?: Karim questions
Saba Karim, who is a former Indian team selector, has asked whether Hardik Pandya was fit at the time when India’s World Cup squad was announced. “One thing is clear, Hardik Pandya is a big player for the Indian team. But the question is when he was selected in the Indian team, was he fit at that time. If he was fit at that time, then his selection is justified,” Karim said on the YouTube show Khelneeti.
He adds that it is important to explain when Pandya got injured. Karim said, “He is not played the two matches so far for Mumbai (Indians), so when was he injured. Did it happen during the Indian team selection or while preparing for IPL? It is important to explain these things”.
Karim also said that if Pandya was not fit, he should have gone to National Cricket Academy and prove fitness. "If he was carrying an injury, then why was he selected in the national team? Generally, the rule is that if you are not fit, you have to go to NCA (National Cricket Academy) to prove your match fitness. Only then are you available for selection".
Mumbai Indians support staff gives update on Hardik Pandya
The defending champions Mumbai Indians’ support staff has given updates on Hardik Pandya’s injury and fitness. Following MI’s loss against CSK on September 19, MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene said, “Hardik was training, had a little niggle, so again precaution, we thought, let's just give him extra days to see how things are, but nothing serious”.
Recently bowling coach Shane Bond and MI’s Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan have thrown light on Hardik. After MI lost against KKR on September 23, Shane Bond said, “Hardik is training well. He's been close to playing. We're obviously balancing the needs of our team and the needs of Team India as well”. He hoped Pandya will play the next match against RCB.
Now Zaheer Khan has also provided an important update on Pandya. Zaheer has informed that Pandya has started practising and a call on him will be taken after MI’s Saturday practice session. He is hopeful of having him against RCB on Sunday.