The allrounder wants to be back to peak bowling fitness in time for the T20 World Cup later this year
“He did bowl in the England series [at home earlier this year]. I was part of it – in all the T20 games, he bowled,” Yadav said ahead of the series. “In the decider ODI also he bowled when the team was in a crunch situation, so it was good.
“I think that the team management and Hardik knew their responsibilities really well, so they were taking a call. Here, in the intra-squad game, he did bowl in the nets. He is bowling. It is his and the team management’s call how they want to go about it. But yes, he is bowling and it is a very good sign.”
“My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. As a fast-bowling allrounder, I tend to get injuries. It is bound to happen and I am okay with it”
Pandya last played a Test in 2018, in England. His utility, particularly in overseas Tests, has been recognised but for that, he has to be in full bowling capacity. For now, Pandya is focussed solely on the T20 World Cup later this year.
“I started bowling in the IPL and my focus is on the World Cup,” Pandya said in a chat with TOI Sportscast last month. “I want to make sure that I will be able to bowl in all the games at the World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don’t miss that. On the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am.
“Even after my surgery, I didn’t drop my pace. I was not able to drop my control. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. As a fast-bowling allrounder, I tend to get injuries. It is bound to happen and I am okay with it.
“For India, I have realised that my bowling brings a lot of difference because the balance changes. In IPL, I am lucky to have a franchise where there is so much love that I was able to pick my batting and make sure that for India, I am able to be at my best. I have to make sure I am fit to be able to bowl and if I bowl, that brings balance to the side.”
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo