Shane Bond has stated that the team is hopeful that Hardik Pandya will make a comeback to the Mumbai Indians team for the next game against RCB after training well on Thursday. He further added that MI is also taking care of Team India’s needs as well while managing the workload of Hardik Pandya.
It has been a dismal start to the campaign for Mumbai Indians in the second leg of the IPL 2021 so far. First, they lost to Chennai Super Kings by 20 runs and then suffered another defeat at the hands of KKR by 7 wickets. Batting was the weak link in both the fixtures for Mumbai Indians with the batters not aggressive enough in the slog overs. A much noted reason for this has been MI missing the services of a certain Hardik Pandya in both the fixtures.
Commenting on Hardik Pandya’s injury and rest given to him, team bowling coach Shane Bond said that the team management is taking care of the team’s needs as well as Team India’s requirements in managing the workload of the player.
"Hardik is training well. He trained today (Thursday) and he is getting closer to playing. We are balancing the needs of our team along with the needs of Team India as well. This franchise looks after its players. We are hopeful that Hardik will be back for the next match, he trained well on Thursday," Bond revealed in a post-match virtual press conference.
Pandya, who is also a part of the Indian squad in the upcoming T20I World Cup, missed the first two games of the IPL 2021 due to a niggle. The all rounder’s fitness will be very important for Mumbai Indians as well as the Indian cricket team with the World Cup following the IPL in quick succession. Bond stated that the defending champions should take care of players and not rush them to play if they are not completely fit.
"It is not a hard directive, you have a duty towards the players. You have to look after them, like anything you have to balance everything and you have to balance what the player wants. One thing our franchise does is look after our players. There is no point in rushing him back, you do not want him to get injured and miss rest of the tournament when we have a chance to win it," he remarked,
Mumbai Indians openers Quinton De Kock and Rohit Sharma stitched an opening partnership of 78 runs from 9.2 Overs against KKR. But the dismissal of Rohit halted the scoring rate for the team and they ended up with a total of only 155 after getting off to a good start. Bond admitted that the team controlled the game for the first six overs but the lack of quick runs from middle-order resulted in a sub-par score. He also showed confidence in the team saying they will bounce back in the tournament as they have a quality batting lineup.
"It is a fair comment. When you look at our team, we are probably operating around 80 per cent. We controlled the first six overs and we got into a position to further control the game against KKR, but as you rightly said that the middle-order has not got going. We talk about someone kicking through, we have not been able to do that and once again we found ourselves with a sub-par score. The one thing we do know is that we have got a quality batting lineup. There are good surfaces so I am hoping that the team can kick in because we need to quickly start winning some games," Bond opined.
KKR restricted Mumbai for 155 runs after leaking 56 runs in the powerplay and it was down to the efforts of Lockie Ferguson and Chakravarthy who had a great day with the ball. Bond remarked that the team was short of the par score and KKR bowled brilliantly.
“I felt it was a 175 wicket and we were well short of the score. KKR bowled brilliantly. They showed discipline and then came out and really put us under pressure with the bat. They deserved to win," he concluded.
Mumbai Indians will play their next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 26 at Dubai International Stadium.