New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Hardik Pandya's fitness has become a cause of concern for the Indian cricket team ahead of the upcoming ICC T20I World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Indian chief selector Chetan Sharma had said that Hardik would bowl in the second phase of the IPL 2021, but the 27-year-old didn't bowl a single over in the cash-rich league, raising questions over his fitness.

On Friday, the questions over his fitness were raised again after his Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said that "he hasn't bowled a single ball yet". However, Rohit, who is the vice-captain of the Indian team, said that the all-rounder might be able to start bowling by next week, adding that physios are regularly working with him.

"Yeah, look in terms of his bowling, he has not bowled yet. The physios, trainers and medical team are working on his bowling. As of now, all I know is he has not bowled a single ball yet but we wanted to take it one game at a game and see where it stands," Rohit said after his side's match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

"He did not bowl against SRH as well but you know, he is getting better day by day. He might be able to bowl by the next week, who knows? The doctors and physios will be able to give an update on that," he added.

Though Rohit seems confident that Hardik would be able to start bowling from next week, the all-rounder's fitness issues have left fans worried as it might affect the Indian team's playing combination in the T20I World Cup in the UAE.

Several experts and cricket pundits have also raised objections over Pandya as he has not been able to make an impact in IPL 2021 phase 2 even with the bat. In September, former Indian cricketer Saba Karim had raised objections over Pandya and asked why he has been included in the T20I World Cup squad.

"If he was carrying an injury, then why was he selected in the national team? Generally, the rule is that if you are not fit, you have to go to NCA (National Cricket Academy) to prove your match fitness. Only then are you available for selection," Saba Karim had said.

It must be mentioned here that Pandya in IPL 2021 phase 2 scored just 127 runs at an average of 14.11 and a strike rate of 113.39. However, Rohit is not worried about his batting form and backed him to do well in the World T20I.

"As far as his batting is concerned, yes, he'll be a little disappointed, but we know the quality of him. He is a quality player, and he has come back from tough situations before as well. He will not be happy with his batting but the team has confidence in his ability. I personally have confidence in his ability," he said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma