Hardik Pandya, ever since making his comeback into the Indian team, after a spate of injuries, has looked comfortable in the middle. But he doesn’t quite look the same bowler, as he was back in 2018, where he rattled England in Nottingham Test. For major part of the Australia series and England as well, he didn’t bowl much.
Shane Bond, his bowling coach at Mumbai Indians, who dealt with his own injuries, feels that Hardik hasn’t lost anything as an all-rounder.
“It’s natural that you will lose a bit of top-end consistent pace after a back injury, but what is important is that he hasn’t lost his aggressive approach. He can use the bouncer too, has the skills to swing the ball and can still work up a good pace,” Bond told TOI on Friday.
“When you have a surgery, you are likely to get aches and pains in other parts of the body and that’s what happened to Hardik last year during IPL. We did not want him to pick up another injury because he is too valuable as a batsman.
“Our aim was to get him back in the process of returning as an all-rounder for India and he is coming to this IPL having done so against England,” Bond said.
Bond went on to say that Hardik’s superb batting has made him enjoy the bowling even more. “When he was picked for India, he was seen as a genuine all-rounder. He can still do both equally well, but it’s his batting that has taken the pressure off his bowling. He knows he is one of the best white-ball batsmen in the world and that has made him more comfortable with his bowling.”
“There was a point when I felt he was diving into the crease a little bit too much. He was also mindful of that and got the alignment a little straight and it worked.”
Bond goes on to say that, even though he might be a quality option, his workload needs to be managed well. “I understand that he is a brilliant fourth-pacer option batting at No. 7 in Tests, but I would think he is better off bowling 10 overs a day even when he is playing red-ball cricket, instead of 15-16. Ben Stokes, too, is doing the same,” Bond added.