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Pandya eyes bowling at full tilt in T20 World Cup

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) All-rounder Hardik Pandya has said that he is looking forward to bowling in every match of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be played in October-November this year.

The pace bowler could not make it to the India squad for the Test tour of England since he is unable to bowl long spells due to a persistent back injury but was picked for the white-ball tour of Sri Lanka which takes place next month.

“I started bowling in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and my focus is on the World Cup. I want to make sure that I will be able to bowl in all the games at the T20 World Cup. I am just trying to be smart and make sure that I don’t miss that. On the bowling front, what matters is how fit I am,” Pandya told TOI Sportscast.

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“Even after my surgery, I didn’t drop my pace. I was not able to drop my control. My bowling is related to my fitness. The fitter I get, the better it comes out. As a fast-bowling all-rounder, I tend to get injuries. It is bound to happen and I am okay with it.”

Pandya had, in the past, expressed willingness to play only as a batsman in the Test side. But skipper Virat Kohli has said that Pandya can make it to the India Test team only as an all-rounder.

Kohli, however, hasn’t been averse to playing him only as a batsman in the limited-overs team.

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“For India, I have realised that my bowling brings a lot of difference because the balance changes,” said Pandya, who did not bowl even a single over for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the suspended IPL 2021.

“I have to make sure I am fit to be able to bowl and if I bowl, that brings balance to the side.

“Whenever I play, I don’t want to play at 50%. When I play, I will play at 100%,” he added.

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Even though he didn’t bowl for MI, Pandya rolled his arm over in the limited-overs games for India against England in March this year.

He bowled 17 overs in the five T20 Internationals, picking three wickets and conceding runs at 6.94 an over which was the second best on either side after Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Pandya also bowled in the third and final ODI against England and was quite economical, conceding runs at 5.33 in nine overs.

The 27-year-old, who has played 60 ODIs and 48 T20 Internationals, said the tour of Sri Lanka has come as a surprise.

“When I heard that we are going to Sri Lanka, I was planning to take rest for 3-4 weeks and just not do anything. I was on the road for seven to eight months and for those months, I was preparing myself for one-and-a-half years,” he said.

“For the Sri Lanka tour, I started my preparation from Saturday. Focus is on getting ready for Sri Lanka and then obviously, the World Cup.”

–IANS

kh/akm

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