T20 World Cup 2021 – Hardik Pandya preparing himself to ‘bowl in all games at World Cup’
“I have to make sure I am fit to be able to bowl and if I bowl, that brings balance to the Indian side”
“I started bowling in the IPL and my focus is on the World Cup,” Pandya told TOI Sportscast. “I want to make sure that I will be able to bowl in all the games at the [T20] World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don’t miss that. On the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am. Even after my surgery, I didn’t drop my pace. I was not able to drop my control. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. As a fast-bowling allrounder, I tend to get injuries. It is bound to happen and I am okay with it.”
With a shoulder niggle as well during this year’s IPL, Pandya didn’t bowl at all in the seven matches he played for the Mumbai Indians. However, he bowled a nine-over burst in the third and final ODI against England in March. In the five T20Is, he bowled a total of 17 overs with an economy rate of under seven runs per over. Even during the last IPL, he played solely as a specialist batter.
“For India, I have realised that my bowling brings a lot of difference because the balance changes,” Pandya said. “In IPL, I am lucky to have a franchise where there is so much love that I was able to pick my batting there and make sure that for India, I am able to be at my best. I have to make sure I am fit to be able to bowl and if I bowl, that brings balance to the side.”
Pandya reiterated that the emphasis is on getting ready for the limited-over tour next month and eventually, the World Cup. He said that he decided to rest for three weeks to spend time with the family and “not think about the body” before the Sri Lanka tour.
“Whenever I play, I don’t want to play at 50%. [When] I play, I will play at 100%,” he said. “When I heard that we are going to Sri Lanka, I was planning to take rest for 3-4 weeks and just not do anything. I was on the road for seven to eight months and for those months, I was preparing myself for one-and-a-half years. Just before the lockdown, I made a comeback in the DY Patil (T20s in February) and then Covid hit. Then I had to remain fit because I wasn’t at my best at that time.
“For the Sri Lanka tour, I will start my preparation from tomorrow (Saturday). Focus is on getting ready for Sri Lanka and then obviously, the World Cup.”