India bowling coach Bharat Arun on Wednesday heaped praise on all-rounder Hardik Pandya and agreed that finding someone as good as him would be a very tough job for the team management. Hardik, who was not picked in the India squad for the World Test Championship final and five-match Test series versus England, last represented Team India in the longest format in 2018, during the tour of England. He has been battling a back injury since 2019 and recently, during the IPL, also picked up a shoulder niggle. Also Read - IND vs NZ: Kane Williamson Reacts After New Zealand's Historic WTC Triumph Over India in Southampton, Credits Big-Hearted Teammates
Arun agreed that finding someone as good as Pandya would be a very tough job. During an interaction with PTI, the 58-year-old said: I wish you could just wish and develop bowlers like that. Hardik is an outstanding talent, but unfortunately, he had to undergo a back operation, and then it’s not very easy to come back after that. He bowled against England, I thought he did a really good job. But, to sustain that we need to manage him well and build on his strength. Also Read - IND vs NZ WTC Final Match Report: Kane Williamson, Tim Southee Power New Zealand to World Test Championship Glory, Beat India by 8 Wickets in Southampton
Arun also backed Shardul Thakur and believes the Palghar-born cricketer has what it takes to be the fast-bowling all-rounder that the team has needed ever since Hardik’s back injury. Arun said that while the selectors will have the last word on finding the next set of options, Thakur has certainly made a case for himself. Also Read - MATCH HIGHLIGHTS IND vs NZ WTC Final, Reserve Day Cricket Updates: Williamson's Fifty, Southee Heroics Power New Zealand to Test Glory; Beat India by 8 Wickets
“Shardul has proved he can be an all-rounder. What he did in Australia was fabulous,” Arun said.
The two-Test old Thakur was mighty impressive in the only longest format game he played in the away series against Australia this year, picking up seven wickets and a half-century to boot in Brisbane.
So ideally, yes – we need to develop seam bowling all-rounder, there must be a few – in domestic cricket – because we are always on the circuit with the Indian team, we have not had an opportunity to look at the domestic all-rounders, he added.
Thakur has also spoken about his desire to be seen as a bowling all-rounder and he is expected to get his fair share of chances during the upcoming tour of England.
With bio-bubbles not going out of the game anytime soon, Arun said all six fast bowlers will be rotated during the tour as the team manages its players’ workload in a “big” way.
India play six Tests in England, starting with the World Test Championship final against New Zealand from June 18. England is the only top side at the moment that has a clear-cut rotation policy in place to deal with bubble fatigue in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even we have a policy in place at the moment. We have rested players in between matches, and also some top players for a series and things like that. It is under place, even for us,” Arun said.
“That is going to be the future because the volume of cricket that is being played, and also with all the current rules which are going to exist for some time. I think it is extremely important that the players are fresh mentally, physically, so workload management is going to be big in the future.”
India have six pacers in the squad — Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Thakur, and Mohammad Siraj.
“If if you look at them – all six, you could put any three or four out of them on the park. They are good enough to do the job for us. So that is a very, very healthy trend for Indian cricket,” said Arun.