World T20: Skipper Kohli backs Hardik at No.6, says not worried about his bowling
Dubai/UNI: Amid questions being raised about Hardik Pandya's place in the playing XI, India Captain Virat Kohli on Saturday backed the star all-rounder saying that the team is not bothered about his bowling, but rather happy about what he brings to the table as No.6 batter.
"I have considered couple of other options for overall group and hence we are not bothered about our bowling options, but what Hardik brings at Number 6 spot is that it cannot just be created overnight, and hence he is always in favour of backing Hardik as a batsman," Kohli told reporters virtually on the eve of India-Pakistan clash in ICC Men's T20 WC here tomorrow.
India is still searching for the sixth bowler who can also bat, and Pandya has not bowled a single over for Mumbai Indians in the UAE leg of the IPL, as he is recovering on the fitness front.
His inability to bowl has raised many questions about his place in the playing XI.
Speaking further, Kohli said he presently feels that Hardik's physical condition is getting better in terms of bowling at least two overs at certain stages in the tournament.
He said the team strongly believes that they can make the most of the opportunity when Hardik starts bowling. "In Australia, we saw what he did with batting, that he can take away the game from the opposition when he is in full flow," he added.
From the discussion point of view, it is an interesting topic that if Hardik does not bowl he would be left out, but the players, Kohli said, understand the value he brings to the team as a Number 6 batsman.
"And, in world cricket if you look at that job it is the specialist who does the job. It is very important to have that guy especially in T20 cricket who can play an impactful innings at that stage," he said.
Forcing Hardik to bowl will be something which he is not ready for, but he is motivated and very keen to bowl and if he succeeds in getting his bowling rhythm back, obviously the balance becomes even better, Virat said.
On "The Clash" tomorrow, Kohli said Pakistan have many game-changers in their team and India need to play extraordinarily.
Asked whether the Indian bowling line-up will give them advantage against Pakistan, Kohli said India always had good bowling attack, otherwise they could not have beaten Pakistan in all the encounters they faced in world cup matches.
"... For me to say that we have great bowlers and we did not have them before, is inappropriate. We have won every time we have played against them in the T20 World Cup. If it was just a case of our bowling being weak, then we should not have won those games," he said.
Continuing further, Kohli suggested that the dew factor and slow tracks in Sharjah will give confidence to Indian bowlers as feels that there won't be any high-scoring games.
"I think the wicket in the IPL final was very good and I think the dew factor is becoming prominent, which is also going to help the pitches to stay better. Sharjah more or less will stay true to its true nature which is slow and low. I do not see any high-scoring games there, wickets I feel are better now," he said.