Coach Jayawardene backs Hardik Pandya, as Gavaskar backs Venkatesh Iyer to replace Hardik in WC squad

After missing the first two matches in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE, Hardik Pandya has featured for Mumbai Indians as a pure batsman. The all-rounder hadn’t bowled in the first leg of the tournament in India as well due to niggle issues.

Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene on Friday (October 1) asserted that his team will not rush Hardik Pandya into bowling in the ongoing IPL 2021 as he could ‘struggle’ if pushed too hard and might not be an asset even as a batsman. He also said that the possibility of Pandya bowling in the tournament will be evaluated on a daily basis.

Whether he can bowl in the IPL or not is something that we will have to look it on a daily basis and evaluate and then see how he progresses. But at the moment, if you push too hard, it might be an issue where you might even struggle and might not be an asset even as a batsman. So that’s something we will have to take into account and with consideration with all concerned parties and take it a day at a time,” said Jayawardene in a virtual pre-match press conference ahead of Mumbai’s clash with Delhi Capitals on Saturday.

In his column Times of India, Sunil Gavaskar exaggerated praise for KKR’s Venkatesh Iyer after being strongly impressed with his versatile abilities. The former Indian captain wrote:

“In Venkatesh Iyer, Kolkata has discovered a player who could be the all-rounder that India is looking for. His bend is not expression, but he gets the yorker quite more than not and does not let the batsman slap him. As a bat, he plays upright, which gives a great position to play the short ball, and he drives beautifully through off-side as all left-handers seem to do. ”

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