Does India have plans to play a sixth bowler in Lucknow?

Mohammed Siraj

With all-rounder Hardik Pandya expected to miss his second straight World Cup game owing to a ligament injury. India is aiming to improve their bowling unit in his absence. The World Cup match between the hosts and the England, is likely to take place in Lucknow on Sunday.

In order to defeat New Zealand on Sunday, India benched all-rounder Shardul Thakur in favor of extra seamer Mohammed Shami. India defeated New Zealand by 4 wickets in Dharamsala. Effectively chasing down 274 to extend their winning run to 5 World Cup matches.

India used just five bowlers in the competition for the first time since Hardik Pandya, who was transported to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru following a ligament injury he sustained in the match against Bangladesh, was absent. On October 19, at Pune, Hardik bowled just three deliveries before he became injured. In his first bowling effort in a World Cup competition since 2015, Virat Kohli finished off Hardik’s over, contributing three deliveries.

‘EVERYBODY WANTED TO BE A BOWLER’

As it turned out, India were readying some sixth-bowling options as quite a few of their batters rolled their arms over during a training session in Lucknow on Thursday.

Team India took a stopover at Dharamsala before arriving in Lucknow on Wednesday. Additionally, the training session included some lightheartedness when hitters rolled their arms over. While players like Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Kuldeep Yadav had fun bowling with their non-bowling arm, Virat Kohli looked sharp as he bowled to Shubman Gil in the nets.

In addition to Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah attempted to bowl left-arm spin.
Even though it didn’t seem like a meaningful game at the nets, India may be hoping to employ players like Virat Kohli to fill in for a few overs if necessary.
Sarandeep Singh, a former India selector, emphasized that till Hardik Pandya heals and returns to action, India needs to locate a backup bowling option.

‘There should be six bowling options with or without Hardik. Other teams have started to up their game. What if Bumrah has a bad day. Kuldeep got hit the other day but he bounced back. Teams have not been able score 350 against us but it can happen. ‘If you are not going to get a sixth bowler, then you will need someone like Kohli to chip in with two of three overs. India must plan for all scenarios and I am sure they are doing that,” Sarandeep told news agency PTI.

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