T20 World Cup: Hardik Pandya bowling in the nets© BCCI

Former World Cup winning pacer Zaheer Khan is hoping to see India all-rounder Hardik Pandya bowl again for the national team in their next T20 World Cup 2021 game against New Zealand at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. In a video posted by the BCCI, Hardik was seen putting in the hard yards and bowling again during India’s nets session. Zaheer, on hearing the news, hoped that Hardik will be able to help the bowling department and give Virat Kohli another option in the upcoming matches.

Talking to Cricbuzz, Zaheer said, “There was a buzz that at some stage he [Hardik Pandya] will be starting to bowl. We will have to wait and see when he bowls in the matches. Yes, he has started bowling in the nets, so I am hopeful that he will bowl in the next match.”

The former left-arm bowler highlighted the importance of Hardik’s ability to chip in with the ball and explained that the all-rounder provided the much-needed balance to the side.

“It’s going to be crucial because when Hardik is bowling, that does shift the balance of the bowling attack towards a good strength,” Zaheer added.

Zaheer’s take on the sixth bowling option referred to Hardik and how India were one of the few teams that played only with five bowling options.

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“As a captain you have that sixth bowling option. If you look at any team right now, they all have a minimum of six bowling options going into a game except for India, who went in with five bowling options… Great news if he [Hardik Pandya] is bowling in the nets. Hope, he bowls in the match as well.”

India will face a tough task when they take on New Zealand next. Both teams will be eager to register a win against their respective names after being hammered by Pakistan earlier this week.

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