Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond has said that Hardik Pandya has definitely lost a bit of pace due to his back surgery but the all-rounder's aggressive approach remains the same.
The New Zealand legend added that Hardik Pandya will be playing in IPL 2021 as an all-rounder. Notably, the 27-year-old stayed away from full-time bowling duty for a long time because of a back injury which resurfaced after the 2019 World Cup. He bowled 17 overs in the 5-match T20I series against England this year but did not bowl again in the first 2 ODIs versus the visitors. However, clearing all the doubts over his bowling fitness, Hardik bowled 9 overs in the third and decisive match and helped India win the series 2-1.
“Aim was to have Hardik back as an all-rounder.
“It’s natural that you will lose a bit of top-end consistent pace after a back injury, but what is important is that he hasn’t lost his aggressive approach. He can use his bouncer too, has the skills to swing the ball and can still work up a good pace.
“When you have surgery, you are likely to get aches and pains in other parts of the body and that’s what happened to Hardik last year during IPL. We did not want him to pick up another injury as he is too valuable as a batsman.”
“Our aim was to get him back in the process of returning as an all-rounder for India and he is coming to this IPL having done so against England," Shane Bond told Times of India.
Hardik should not bowl more than 10 overs a day in Test cricket
Further, Shane Bond suggested that Hardik Pandya, a 'brilliant fourth-pacer option' in Tests, should not bowl more than 10 overs a day in the format.
"I understand that he is a brilliant fourth-pacer option batting at no. 7 in Tests, but I would think he is better off bowling 10 overs a day even when he is playing red-ball cricket, instead of 15-16.”
Mumbai Indians have the best number 5, 6 and 7
Further, the 45-year-old called his team's number 5, 6 and 7 - Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya the best in the IPL. He also hinted at a possible role for Hardik Pandya in the upcoming season which starts from April 9.
“We have the best 5,6 & 7: Pollard, Hardik, Krunal.
“Last year, we used Kieron Pollard as the sixth bowler because Hardik was injured. Now we have the best 5,6 and 7 in the tournament in the form of Pollard, Hardik and Krunal," Bond signed off.