With star all-rounder Hardik Pandya out of the ongoing Cricket World Cup, India lack a sixth bowling option in their playing XI. Hardik, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, suffered an ankle injury during India’s match against Bangladesh on October 19. He missed the last three group matches, before being eventually ruled out of the tournament on the eve of India’s match against South Africa on Sunday. During the match against Bangladesh, Hardik twisted his ankle while bowling.
The India vice-captain bowled just three balls in that over, which was completed by star batter Virat Kohli. It was the first time in over six years that Kohli got the chance to bowl in an ODI.
While Kohli has bowled just three balls in the ongoing tournament, fans have expressed the desire to see him bowl more often in World Cup.
Earlier this week, the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium was chanting “Kohlo ko bowling do (Give the ball to Kohli)” during the match against Sri Lanka.
Sharing his views on the debate, former South Africa all-rounder Albie Morkel feels while forcing Kohli to bowl seems a bit unfair on the player’s part, the star batter should definitely swing his arms, only if he wants too.
“I think it’s unfair to him. Unless he wants to bowl, Badri. I’m sure the captain won’t make a big call like that. If he wants to bowl, give it to him. He should bowl and come and redeem himself,” Morkel said on S Badrinath’s YouTube channel.
Notably, Morkel once hit Kohli for 28 runs in an Indian Premier League match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
India head coach Rahul Dravid revealed that Kohli was close to bowling an over against Sri Lanka and indicated that the star batter could be a possible sixth bowling option with two other batters.
“He just said the facts. The fact is that we will not be in a position to have a proper sixth option. We do have the option to call upon our wrong-footed, in-swinging menace [Virat Kohli]. And with the crowd behind him, I’d back him for a couple of overs there in a few wickets. The crowd was demanding his bowling in the last game. We came very close to giving him an over,” Dravid said ahead of the South Africa game.
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