Ahead of India's crucial encounter against New Zealand at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, captain Virat Kohli has said that Shardul Thakur is someone who can bring a lot of value to the team. Kohli also gave update on Hardik Panyda's fitness, saying that he was completely 'fine'.
Notably, Shardul Thakur was included in India's 15-man squad from the reserve list, just ahead of the start of the ongoing tournament in the UAE and Oman.
With Hardik Pandya struggling with his bowling fitness and Shardul's growing prowess with the bat, India have the option of including the latter in the playing XI of a match. On the eve of India's high-ocatne clash against New Zealand, Virat Kohli praised Shardul Thakur and said that the Mumbai cricketer is "definitely" part of Team India's plan.
“He’s (Shardul) definitely a guy who’s in our plans, constantly making a case of for himself. He is definitely someone who can bring a lot of value to the team.”
“What role he plays or where he fits in, that’s something that I cannot obviously talk about right now. But yes, Shardul is someone who’s got great potential and he will add great value to the team,” Kohli added.
Further, the 32-year-old said that the inclusion of sixth bowling option will depend on the situations in the game.
“Game situation dictates when to use your sixth bowling option. In our last match, if they (Pakistan) batted first, I could also have bowled one or two overs. But in the second innings when we needed wickets, we just had to bowl our primary bowlers. It’s not that a team with six-seven bowling options doesn’t lose,” the skipper said.
Kohli also confirmed that Pandya was ‘fine’ as far as his shoulder injury. A Shaheen Afridi delivery had hit the 28-year-old on his soulder's during the clash against Pakistan last week.
“Hardik is absolutely fine if you’re talking about the blow on his shoulder,” Kohli said adding that Shardul was also in their ‘plans’.