Ahead of the finale against Delhi, Rohit Sharma has revealed that Hardik Pandya is not comfortable to bowl at the moment and the team has left the decision to bowl on the all-rounder. He added that the team has had an assessment with Hardik every 3-4 games to ensure that he is in good shape.
Mumbai Indians have dominated all season with their batting and bowling with nearly all their stars playing a crucial role in their wins at least once. Qualifier 1 was no different where they were able to pile on a target of 201, with the help of some extraordinary hitting from Hardik Pandya at the end after Kishan Ishan and Suryakumar Yadav had set the stage with their half-centuries. Their bowling unit then responded, in the same game, as Jasprit Bumrah ripped through the Delhi batting lineup and walked away with figures of 4 for 14 helping Mumbai win the match by 57 runs.
These dominating performances prove that Mumbai have all bases covered, but one visible absentee from their bowling lineup has been Junior Pandya, who has not bowled at all in IPL 2020. However, on the eve of the final, Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma has revealed that the all-rounder has not been comfortable to bowl but added that Junior Pandya has been left to make the final call on his condition.
"He is not comfortable at the moment to bowl you know, and we have left all the decision on him. If he feels comfortable he will be happy to bowl, but at the moment, he is not feeling comfortable, he has got some niggle going. So I mean it would have been great to have him bowl but, throughout the season, we have given him that cushion of being in that comfort zone and making sure that he takes care of his body and he has done that really well." Rohit said as quoted by TOI.
The Mumbai skipper further revealed that the team management has kept assessing the progress made by Hardik without putting any pressure on him, who more than made up with his incredible ability to hit the ball far and high.
"We have had his assessment every three four games and we have spoken to him about what he wants to do. So we don't want to put that pressure on individuals where we are expecting something from him and he is not able to do it and the team morale goes down, we don't want that situation. You know Hardik to us is very important as a player and his batting has been really really key for us, making it to the final. So as long as he bats I am happy," Rohit said.
Hardik is part of the teams named for the limited-overs series in Australia beginning in the last week of November. The 27-year-old underwent back surgery in October last year in the UK, which kept him out of action for almost a year, with the all-rounder last playing a T20 International against South Africa at home in September 2019.