Team India has gone in with 5 regular bowlers throughout the World Cup. The strategy has worked pretty well so far as all of them have done well. They never felt the need to have an extra bowler. But it was always a risk if any of the bowlers encounters an injury during the game. India’s worst nightmare came true in the most crucial game of the tournament so far. Hardik Pandya was seen in discomfort while bowling the 17th over of the innings against New Zealand in the first semifinal.
When the pacer ran in to bowl the 4th ball of his 4th over, he pulled out just before delivering. Hardik felt some discomfort in his groin region. He gingerly walked back to start of his bowling run-up. Somehow, he managed to bowl the remaining 2 balls of the over. Immediately after completing the over, he walked off the field.
India’s physio Patrick Farhart was ready to receive him at the boundary line. Alongside Patrick, Hardik went inside the dressing room. While climbing the stairs, the all-rounder wasn’t looking comfortable at all. It came in as a big blow for the Men in Blue as 6 overs of his were still left.
An update on the extent of the injury is still awaited. If he doesn’t bowl any further, India will have to look for options to complete his quota of overs. While Virat Kohli would want Hardik to recover quickly, he would also look around the field for bowling options. Virat himself can bowl like he did when India, under his leadership, faced Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in the Under-19 World Cup a decade ago. MS Dhoni can also roll his arm over given Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant are available in the line-up as backup wicketkeepers.
Meanwhile, 2 overs later, Hardik came back to the field. He wasn’t looking fully fit though. The right-hander didn’t come back to the bowling attack immediately as Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal occupied the bowling crease in tandom.
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