Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene said on Friday that his team will not rush Hardik Pandya into bowling in the ongoing IPL 2021 as he could ‘struggl’ if pushed too hard. He also said that the possibility of Pandya bowling in the IPL will be evaluated on a daily basis.
“Whether he can bowl in the IPL or not is something that we will have to look it on a daily basis and evaluate and then see how he progresses. But at the moment, if you push too hard, it might be an issue where you might even struggle and might not be an asset even as a batsman. So that’s something we will have to take into account and with consideration with all concerned parties and take it a day at a time,” said Jayawardene in a virtual pre-match press conference ahead of Mumbai’s clash with Delhi Capitals on Saturday.
After missing the first two matches in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE, Pandya has featured for Mumbai as a pure batsman. The all-rounder hadn’t bowled in the first leg of the tournament in India as well. Jayawardene mentioned that the franchise is in contact with the Indian team management with respect to Pandya.
“He hasn’t bowled since Sri Lanka for a longer period of time and obviously had another niggle. We managed to get him through that process. I think what we are trying to do is what’s best for Hardik going forward. But we will be taking to the management, the Indian team management and everyone else and make sure that sooner he feels comfortable, we will get him into his bowling programme and prepare him.”
Jayawardene was of the opinion that Suryakumar Yadav will be back among runs soon if he gets to spend more time in the middle. Yadav has been a point of concern for Mumbai with scores of 3, 5, 8 and 0 in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
“He’s a very important player for us. But like many cricketers in the past who go through such phases, including myself in the 2003 World Cup. I clearly understand what he’s going through but, in the nets, he’s batting really well. His focus is very good. It’s just him spending time out there in the middle, getting that confidence back. So, we will try to manage that situation but it’s not a huge concern. But we would love for him to be spending more time out there in the middle.”
The 44-year-old conveyed his views on a question from IANS about how he works with players like Yadav and Ishan Kishan, who are struggling to get runs under their belt. “We had to make a couple of changes just to trigger a few things doesn’t mean that these players are ignored or they will be left out. So, all those conversations are happening behind the scenes. Make sure they go through their routines, they go through the practices and keep them going. Any given moment will be used against an opposition that we feel they are comfortable as well.”
“So it’s just a process of, especially at MI, our core group, who’s making these kind of decisions that we will keep doing. But that doesn’t mean that the quality of these players have been ignored or anything like that. We make sure that these players are confident and kept in the same balance even though if they are not on the park,” concluded Jayawardene.