India began their tour of Australia with a big loss in the 1st ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The Indian bowlers could not come together as a unit and struggled in the absence of a sixth bowling option. Their batting wasn’t too convincing either as they kept losing wickets while chasing a mammoth total of 375.
It was Hardik Pandya who was the shining spark with the bat as he stroked his way to a quick-fire 90. His partnership with Shikhar Dhawan was looking dangerous at a point but Adam Zampa removed both batsmen to all but seal victory for the Aussies. Hardik had a long injury lay-off last year after a blow to his back. He returned in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but didn’t bowl a single over. In today’s match as well, the all-rounder didn’t get to bowl and Indian skipper Virat Kohli made it clear that he wouldn’t bowl for now.
‘I am thinking as a long term plan’
Addressing the press after the match, Hardik Pandya spoke about when he would be fit to bowl. “It is a process,” Pandya said when asked when he was asked the same. “I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100% of my bowling capacity for the most important games. The World Cups are coming. More crucial series are coming. Whenever it is required.“
“I am thinking as a long-term plan, not short term where I exhaust myself and maybe have something else [injury] which is not there. So it is going to be a process, which I am following. I can’t tell you exactly when I am going to bowl but the process is on. In the nets, I am bowling. It is just that I am not game-ready but I am bowling. It is all about confidence and the skill has to be at an international level,” he added.
Pandya then admitted that it was always going to be difficult going into a match with five bowlers. “Yeah, it is always going to be difficult when you go with five bowlers. When someone is having an off day you don’t have someone to fulfil the quota. More than injury, the sixth bowler’s role is when someone among the five bowlers is having a bad day. I think it is going to be… maybe we will have to make, maybe we will have to find someone who has already played India, and groom them and find a way to make them play,” he further said.