Since the next game is against the Netherlands on Thursday, India can afford to rest Pandya, if necessary, and he can try Deepak Hoodawho can bat at any position and also bowl quick breaks within the power play overs.
However, there are no conclusive indications that Pandya could miss a World Cup match, even if it’s against a weaker team like the Netherlands.
The entire bowling unit (barring R Ashwin), along with the all-rounder Pandya, got complete rest. With no practice on the eve of the match, the fast bowlers will return fresh for the next match.
In Pandya’s case, his workload in the previous game — against Pakistan — was maximum and he did suffer from cramp at the end of the Indian run chase.
The reason (of Pandya’s cramps) is believed to be the overall dimensions of the MCG where many drives don’t move to the boundary and while batsmen have to sprint for that extra run, fielders are putting extra yards in the deep.
Not to forget, Hardik bowled four overs at an average rate of nearly 140 clicks since Axar Patel flopped badly.
There is no other player more important than Pandya when it comes to the balance of the side and the team management does keep him wrapped in cotton wool knowing that he is the team’s x-factor in big matches.
While leaving the mixed zone, Pandya was asked if his cramps were serious.
“No, I don’t think so. It could be because I have never run so many twos in a T20 International,” he replied.
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India might have won one of the most thrilling as well as emotionally draining T20I matches in World Cup history against Pakistan, but there was no let up in intensity as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh PantDeepak Hooda was all back at the SCG nets for a solid two-hour session.
The biggest complaint against Rahul is that he never scores big when the occasion calls for it.
He failed in three of the last four matches against Pakistan, even as he had some blistering knocks in bilateral series against Australia and South Africa.
The bowlers have now decoded that an “imaginary fourth off stump” line to Rahul at a good pace can produce results.
At the start of the innings, a delivery on the channel or with a hint of inward movement from the track catches him off guard as he has either been played or previously judged leg.
In reality, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Harshal Patel was constantly told to bowl outside the off stump.
Rahul didn’t look too comfortable on one occasion as he was forced to cover the face of his bat. If it was a game situation, it would interest the punt fielder.
When Yuzvendra Chahal bowled, Rahul tried to rock back and pull a couple of mid-wicket ones against the spinner.