India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Friday said that he was focussing and preparing himself to play purely as a batsman till he gets match-ready to bowl. ‘He will bowl only when the time is right,’ said Pandya on Friday, urging the team to groom other players with multiple skill-sets after his bowling was badly missed in the opening ODI loss to Australia at SCG. The flamboyant all-rounder, who is remodelling his action after back surgery, is still not ready for that workload that is affecting the balance of the side, an admission that came from skipper Virat Kohli himself.Also Read - BCCI Rule Puts The Likes Of KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik & Hardik Pandya Doubtful For South Africa T20I Series 2022
“I am working on my bowling, I am going to come at the right time when it is needed,” Pandya, who scored 90 off 76 balls during his team’s 66-run loss on Friday, said at the post-match press conference. Also Read - Hardik Pandya's Reply to Critics After GT Beat RR to Book Final Berth is Unmissable
For the Baroda man, it is important that once he starts bowling in match situations, he is able to deliver at optimum speeds required for producing quality performances at big events. “It’s a process, I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100 per cent of my bowling capacity for the most important games when the World Cups are coming or the most crucial series whenever it is required,” he said. Also Read - Ravi Shastri Says Hardik Pandya Has Burning Desire to Win IPL After GT Beat RR to Book Spot in Final
Pandya said that he can’t put a timeline on when he would bowl as he doesn’t want to rush things.
“I am thinking as a long term plan not short term plan where I’ll try to exhaust myself and maybe have something else which is not there, so it’s a process, which I am following. I can’t tell you exactly when I am going to bowl,” he said, informing that he is bowling at the nets.
Pandya made no bones about the fact that India should also look at all-round options considering that a sixth bowling option is a must for balance of an ODI team.
“I think, maybe, we will have to find someone who has already played India and groom them and find a way to make them play,” he said.
“It is always going to be difficult when you go with five bowlers, because then if somebody is having an off day, you won’t have someone to fulfill (that role),” he said about a collective flop-show by the Indian bowling.
“…..more than injury, it is about the sixth bowler’s role. If someone is having a bad day, so the other guys gets more cushion,” he said.
Asked about options available, the junior Pandya in a tongue-in-cheek reply urged the selectors to look at his elder brother Krunal, who is a spin bowing all-rounder. ” may be you can name it who all are there maybe we should look in the Pandya family only,” he quipped.
On India’s batting performance on the day, Pandya said that chasing 375, one can’t plan much but show intent. “….when you have 370-odd runs to chase, there’s not much planning, it is very clear that everyone has to play with intent, and in big totals you need everyone to fire in plus a good strike rate as well.
“And obviously, when I was batting, we had to believe and I generally felt that we could have done it. We lost important wickets at the wrong time,” he observed.
Known for his colourful and once controversial life, Pandya junior feels a lot calmer now that he has become a father.
“When you have a child then automatically you have more work, you think about life in a different way and I think my perspective towards my family has changed, as a person I have changed, and I think the change has come for the better,” he said.
He is longing to see his infant son Agasthya, who will be four months old when he returns to India after the limited-overs series.
“I am missing my child. When I left, the child was 15 days and now the child will be of four months. When I will return, yes a lot of things have changed but for better and this is the best time in life,” Pandya concluded.