T20 World Cup: I will consider Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya if he is not bowling, says Sunil Gavaskar

ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Sunil Gavaskar named two worthy replacements for the out-of-form Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for India’s upcoming Super 12 game against New Zealand in Dubai.

Former India legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar has suggested a few changes to team India’s XI ahead of their match against New Zealand. With Hardik Pandya not available to bowl, the Indian side has been dealing with the concern of the sixth bowling option. The all-rounder featured in the playing XI against Pakistan but managed to score just 11 runs from 8 balls whilst coming to bat at number seven. India’s seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, on the other hand, has also been dealing with a dip in form.

In his spell of three overs, he conceded 25 runs at an economy rate of 8.33 and went wickless in the match against the Men in Green. Gavaskar thus feels that in-form Ishan Kishan and Shardul Thakur should be included in the side in place of Pandya and Bhuvneshwar respectively. Kishan has scored a half-century in all of his last three T20 innings. The keeper-batter also exuded his flair by playing an impressive knock of uneaten 70 against England in the team’s first warm-up match.

T20 World Cup: I will consider Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya if he is not  bowling, says Sunil Gavaskar - Sports News
Credits: India Today

Thakur, on the other hand, was instrumental for CSK in the recently concluded IPL 2021. He finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker for the side with 21 wickets to his account. Gavaskar said the Indian team management can think of bringing in Ishan Kishan and Shardul Thakur in place of Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, respectively, for their next game which will be played on October 31. Both Pandya and Bhuvi flopped with bat and ball in their opening game against Pakistan which India lost by 10 wickets to suffer their first-ever World Cup defeat against the Men in Green.

Pandya scored just 11 runs from 8 balls after coming into bat at No. 7 while Bhuvneshwar went wicketless from his 3 overs, conceding 25 runs at an economy rate of 8.33. Gavaskar therefore, feels India can consider replacing the duo with the in-form Kishan and Shardul on Sunday. Ishan Kishan has hit a half-century in his last three T20 innings, including the 70 not out against England in India’s first warm-up game in Dubai. Shardul on the other hand was instrumental in the Chennai Super Kings’ victorious IPL 2021 campaign with 21 wickets from 16 games at an average of 25.09.

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“If Hardik Pandya is not bowling due to that shoulder injury he sustained in the match against Pakistan Ishan Kishan has been in brilliant form so I will surely consider him ahead of Pandya. And perhaps, you can think of Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But otherwise, if you make too many changes, then you will show the opposition that you have panicked,” Gavaskar told Sports Tak. “If Hardik Pandya is not bowling due to that shoulder injury he sustained in the match against Pakistan Ishan Kishan has been in brilliant form so I will surely consider him ahead of Pandya.

Ishan Kishan Shares 'Instagram vs Reality' Post With Hardik Pandya
Credits: News18

“And perhaps, you can think of Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But otherwise, if you make too many changes, then you will show the opposition that you have panicked,” the India legend told Sports Tak. There was some good news in store for India on Wednesday as Hardik Pandya bowled for the first time in months during the team’s training session in Dubai. The all-rounder rolled his arm over for a short period but gave encouraging signs to the team management ahead of their must-win game against the Blackcaps. Pandya last bowled for India in July but has refrained from doing so ever since due to his recurring back injury.

However, what comes in as a great sigh of relief for team India is that Hardik Pandya was spotted bowling after months during the team’s practice session in Dubai. Though he rolled his arms for a short period, it came in as a great positive sign for the Virat Kohli-led side. The next match will be important for both India and New Zealand. Both the sides have lost their opening game to Pakistan and a defeat here will hamper their chances of advancing to the semi-finals.