After publicly stating that he won't rush back into bowling, Hardik Pandya rolled over his arms today and Kohli said that it was because he felt okay enough to bowl. Pandya went on to bowl four overs and he also took the important wicket of centurion Steven Smith and bowled a decent spell.
One thing which is apparent in Indian cricket is the lack of clarity. Just after the first ODI where Hardik Pandya played a scintillating knock, he had asserted that he is looking to get fit as an all-rounder for the next year's T20 World Cup and would not be looking at short-term gains or rush back into bowling.
However, contradicting himself, the Indian all-rounder, who hadn't bowled a single delivery in the IPL 2020, went on to deliver four overs in the second ODI against Australia wherein he gave away 24 runs and took away a crucial wicket of Steven Smith. It was more of a desperate move after Navdeep Saini and other Indian bowlers were getting blasted all around the park. Even Mayank Agarwal bowled an over for India.
Shedding light on Hardik Pandya's bowling, losing skipper, Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation, stated that Pandya was initially slated to bowl just two overs but he felt good and bowled two more overs.
"Hardik felt okay to bowl. Initially just thought of trying for a couple of overs but he felt good and bowled a couple more. And he gave away a bit of a bowling plan with his off-cutters (smiles), but credit to them, they used the dimensions well. Even Rahul or Shreyas, if they carried on, it could've gotten us across the line with Hardik to come," Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
Virat, who himself made 89 with the bat, added that the side was completely outplayed as Australia had a great batting line-up, well aware of how to get things done. He also remarked Australia's fielding as the difference. Both Iyer and Kohli had got out due to some brilliant catching at short-mid wicket.
"They have outplayed us. We were ineffective with the ball, and didn't hit the areas. They have a strong batting line-up, they know the conditions and the angles well. The chase felt steep, and one or two wickets would take the RR up so we had to keep hitting. They took the chances that they created in the field, which was the difference."
With the loss, India have now lost the ODI series as Australia took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the three-match ODI series.