Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Hardik getting better to bowl at least two overs at some stage in the World Cup - Kohli. "What he brings at that No.6 spot is something you cannot create overnight"
"What he brings at that No.6 spot is something you cannot create overnight"
India captain Virat Kohli said that Hardik Pandya's physical condition was getting better to the tune of him contributing at least two overs at some stage in this T20 WC.
India's team balance heading into the tournament has been a subject of much discussion vis-a-vis Pandya playing as a pure No.6 batter thereby leaving the team with five specialist bowlers with no safety net to protect them on a tough day. Kohli, though, said that the team was confident about how they're heading into the tournament, balance-wise, and have earmarked alternatives to chip in overs, should the need arise.
“Honestly I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament,” Kohli said on the eve of India's Super 12 opener against Pakistan. “We strongly feel that we can make the most of the opportunity at hand till the time he starts bowling, we've considered a couple of other options to chip in for an over or two. So, we're not bothered about that at all.”
Incidentally, the Indian captain himself rolled his arm over for two overs in the warm-up fixture against Australia, his two overs costing only 12 runs. Kohli, though, hasn't bowled in an international T20 since he sent down 1.4 overs in the semi-final of the 2016 T20 WC against West Indies.
Citing the T20I series win in Australia late last year as example, Kohli reiterated that Pandya bought very specialised finishing skills at No.6, a role that was way more valuable than what he offered as a sixth bowling option
“What he brings at that No.6 spot is something you cannot create overnight,” he said. “Hence, I was always in favour of backing him in Australia as a batter purely and we saw what he did in the T20 series and how he can take the game away from the opposition when he is in full flow.
“So these things from a talking or discussion point of view seem very interesting that if he doesn't bowl, will he be left out, but we understand the value he brings to the team as a No.6 batter and in world cricket, if you look around, there are specialists who do that job and it's very important to have that guy, especially in T20 cricket who can play an impact innings at that stage. Even when the chips are down, he's someone who can play a long innings in that way.
“So, for us that is way more valuable than forcing him to do something he's not ready for at the moment. But he's motivated and very keen to start giving us a couple of overs and when that happens, obviously the balance becomes even better, but we're pretty confident how we're heading into the start of this tournament.”
‘Pitches will be better than they were at the IPL'
Kohli reckoned that the pitches in the UAE, especially those at Dubai and Abu Dhabi, would play better than they did during the early stage of the just-concluded second-leg of IPL 2021. The Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders final in Dubai was a case in point. The match saw CSK score 192, a score significantly north of 156 which was the average score by teams batting first.
“I believe the quality of pitches is definitely going to be far better in this T20 WC. Also, it being an ICC tournament, we know that the standard of pitches has to be maintained to a certain degree, which is consistent across all venues and I understand that to protect the pitches for a tournament like the World Cup, there had to be some kind of compromise in terms of the playing conditions when we played the IPL. So, we all understood that the wicket in the IPL finals was very, very good.
“I think the dew factor is becoming prominent as we head into this time of the year in Dubai and that is also going to help the pitches play much better. I presume Abu Dhabi and Dubai are probably going to be the best pitches out of all the venues. Sharjah, more or less, will stay true to its true nature, which is slow and low. I don't see many high-scoring [matches] unless dew becomes such a massive factor there as well. But, yeah, wickets I feel are going to be much better in the tournament,” Kohli said.