In-form Hardik says he would bowl full tilt only when required

Hardik had been removed from the India team for not being able to bowl regularly due to fitness issues, but made a roaring comeback in the Indian Premier League. More recently, he was at his absolute best with both bat and ball in the series against England.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya

MANCHESTER: Hardik Pandya, the bowler, on Sunday said that he has finally got his rhythm back, adding that he would continue to be “smart” about his job going forward and bowl at full pace only when “required”.

Hardik had been removed from the India team for not being able to bowl regularly due to fitness issues, but made a roaring comeback in the Indian Premier League. More recently, he was at his absolute best with both bat and ball in the series against England.

The India all-rounder made heads turn with his bowling performances, producing career-best figures of 4/33 and 4/24 in T20I and ODI respectively. His standout figures in the 50-over format came in the third England match at Old Trafford here on Sunday. Speaking to the media after helping India clinch the series 2-1, Hardik, who also contributed an aggressive 71, said that bowling regularly gives him satisfaction.

“After every series, I take four or five days to train because it keeps my body fresh. I like to play 100 per cent because it gives me the opportunity to do all the things which I did today (Sunday),” Hardik said at the post-match press conference.

“After the IPL, I came back to play the South Africa series. I bowled one over [in one match] and did not bowl in a couple of games. For me as a bowler, it is important to keep bowling. I was not finding my rhythm. Even in Ireland, I was not getting the rhythm I wanted. I do not have many skills; I play with smartness. I try to outsmart the batter,” he added.

Hardik said that the four-wicket burst in the first T20I against England gave him the much-needed confidence. “It is very important to stay consistent, something which I have worked on. I watched the videos that I watched before. I generally do not practice before a match, but I just went in and bowled a couple of hours with full run-up [ahead of the first T20I]. That is where I got my rhythm,” explained Hardik.

“The four-wicket haul kind of changed everything and gave me the confidence to pitch the ball wherever I wanted to. So, that is when I came into the picture and became effective.”

Hardik also does not see the point in bowling full tilt at all times. “I think that I bowl smart. I bend my back and bowl as quick as possible when required. A couple of games ago, I bowled in the 130s (130 kmph). It was not because I was unable to bowl quick. It was more about the situation. Today (Sunday), the ground was big and I fancied my chances. I wanted them (England batters) to hit, take on the square leg and fine leg fielders,” said Hardik.

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