. Going into the World Cup, he has enough time to find his touch with the bat. What matters is that he is bowling – not conservatively or within himself as they say – but at full pelt. His wicket column might not have ratcheted up impressive numbers but he is gradually hitting top gear in bowling rhythm and fitness.
Back issues since 2018 thwarted his march as a cricketer. Now, he’s almost becoming the Pandya we know. In the two ODIs in the Caribbean, he has bowled almost a combined 10 overs. He bowled three overs in the first ODI and 6.4 in the second, a significant progress given that even in the IPL, he didn’t bowl his full quota of four overs every game. He did bowl 25 overs across 16 games for Gujarat Titans who lost the final to Chennai Super Kings.
There are encouraging signs that he is ready to shoulder the bowling workload along with India’s frontline quicks.
Pandya, however, believes he still has a long way to go before he is at his absolute best. “(My) body is fine,” Pandya mentioned after India’s six-wicket defeat to West Indies in Barbados. “I have to bowl more overs and get my workload up for the World Cup. I’m a turtle right now, not the rabbit, and hoping everything goes right as the World Cup comes on.”
His next assignment, the Asia Cup on August 30 onwards, should present an accurate picture of where exactly he stands with the ball.
Meanwhile, Pandya isn’t reading too much into India’s defeat in the second ODI. “We didn’t bat the way we were supposed to. The wicket was better than it was in the first game. Everyone barring Shubman Gill hit (towards the) fielders and got out. Disappointing, but there are many things to learn,” he said.