After an injury scare in the first game, Zaheer Khan has confirmed that Hardik Pandya would definitely bowl in the tournament and explained that he didn’t bowl against RCB due to workload management. Zaheer also insisted that ‘adaptability’ is key in the tournament and credited Jansen’s debut.
Despite running away with the league last season, Mumbai started the tournament off with similar troubles, losing their first game against a strong Bangalore side in Chennai. While Chris Lynn made an instant impact at the top of the order, the middle-order and lower-order couldn’t quite capitalise on the start.
With the ball, Mumbai suffered for 60% of the game before a late comeback forced the proceedings to go down to the wire. However, one major concern for the franchise from the game was Hardik Pandya’s fitness levels, with the all-rounder not bowling in the clash, even with favourable conditions. MI’s Director of Cricket operations, Zaheer Khan explained that it was due to workload management that Hardik didn’t bowl before adding that he would surely be bowling in the tournament.
"It was a workload related thing in the previous game. He bowled nine overs in the England series. In consultation with the physio, we had to take that approach. There was a little bit of a shoulder concern but it is not worrisome. You will see him bowl very soon," Zaheer explained in the press conference ahead of his side’s clash with KKR.
"The timeline you will have to ask the physio. In terms of Hardik the bowler coming in this tournament, we are confident that he will be chipping in with the ball in his hand as well," he added.
While Rohit didn’t use the sixth bowling option against RCB, Zaheer was quick in pointing out that Windies all-rounder Kieron Pollard will be the sixth option until Hardik returns with the ball.
"Pollard is our sixth bowling option. He is consistent, he is an experienced campaigner,” he added.
"Whenever Hardik is available, he will start bowling, he will be our bowling option as well. In that department, we are not very concerned. You have to just adapt and adjust. This year's format is a different format. So from that point of view, we need to have that adaptability and flexibility around the squad as well, with not playing in your home grounds, which is what we accept and plan accordingly for the season ahead."
Against RCB, MI gave debuts to Chris Lynn and Marco Jansen, a rarity in the Mumbai setup. While Lynn blazed with the bat, Marco Jansen had a disastrous start, leaking runs. However, in his second spell, the lanky left-armer turned things around, with two quick wickets. Zaheer credited the Saffer, adding that he is in a relaxed state of mind, despite the big occasion.
"We are very excited with Marco as well. When you see a youngster like Marco going out there and making an impact. We have all been there, in our first games, it is a big occasion. Now he has managed to relax because he made a good comeback in that game."