In the high-voltage semi-final clash against New Zealand, India opted to field five proper bowling options and it was deemed risky by many experts. Apprehensions became all the more high when Hardik Pandya was seen having a groin injury scare. It would have been a disaster if any of the five bowlers got injured for India have had no sixth bowling option. The same was seen in India’s game with Bangladesh as well but Hardik’s good show on that occasion had saved the day for Virat Kohli. Former India bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan was also among those who raised doubt over the playing XI that India chose for their game against New Zealand at Old Trafford.
There were already some reactions over not picking Mohammed Shami despite his rich wicket haul in just four games. Overlooking Kuldeep Yadav who bowled well against the Black Caps in the recent past was also another point of debate. But the injury scare brought to the fore a big question: If any of the five bowlers failed to finish their quota of overs, then who?
Always a chance for an injury
Team India had a similar situation in the match against Pakistan at the same venue last month when Bhuvneshwar Kumar had to leave the ground with a hamstring injury. India had Vijay Shankar to chip in for Bhuvneshwar and he had done a decent job then by picking up a wicket with his very first ball. India also had batting all-rounder Kedar Jadhav in that match as an additional bowling option.
Pathan, a former left-arm cricketer from Baroda as like Hardik, pointed out the potential debacle in India’s bowling. In a tweet, he said it is always preferred that a team has six bowling options in white ball cricket, especially if the fifth bowler is a fast-bowling all-rounder for there are possibilities of injuries to such bowlers because of the workload. He hoped that Hardik’s injury wasn’t a major one.
Always believe u need to have 6 bowling option in white ball cricket if ur 5th bowling option is fast bowling all rounder,Always a chance for an injury with the heavy work load on fast bowling all rounders.Hoping Hardik injury isn’t a major one #INDvsNZ— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) July 9, 2019
However, towards the end, Hardik though did well to return and complete his quota of 10 overs in which he conceded 55 runs and took the wicket of James Neesham. India did well to restrict New Zealand to 211 for 5 in 46.1 overs when rain intervened. The game was suspended for the day and would resume on Wednesday which is the reserve day.