India suffered a thumping 6-wicket defeat in the 2nd ODI. Hardik Pandya, who was used as the 5th bowler in the T20I series, didn't bowl a single delivery.
The decision became more perplexing as England batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes piled up runs against the spinners and going to the 6th option looked like the only way out. However, after the game, Kohli explained that the decision is a part of managing the star all-rounder's workload for the coming months.
Interacting with Cricbuzz, Virender Sehwag retorted to the skipper's comments, saying that India doesn't have any games lined up for the next few months. He further argued that even fielding throughout the game causes fatigue in a player and that giving Hardik Pandya 3-4 overs wouldn't have made much of a difference.
"But India isn’t playing any cricket in the next few months! We only have the IPL next. So you are saying that we have no problem losing the ODI series because we had to manage Hardik Pandya’s workload. If his workload doesn’t include 4-5 overs then it’s wrong. He is trying to say that India is trying to manage the workload of every bowler and the same is for Hardik Pandya. But it also shouldn’t be the case that he isn’t bowling even a single over. Fielding for 50 overs also causes fatigue. So if he adds 4-5 overs to it, it shouldn’t make a huge difference on his workload," said Virender Sehwag.
In the T20I series, Hardik Pandya returned 3 wickets at the rubber's second-best economy rate of 6.94. He was particularly effective with his back-of-length cutters which could have arguably been off equal value on the Pune surface for the 2nd ODI.
"Hardik Pandya hasn’t taken any load since his back surgery" - Virender Sehwag
Further lashing out on the decision, Virender Sehwag remarked Hardik Pandya is yet to take much load since he made a comeback after back surgery. Sehwag added that it is possible that Hardik Pandya himself might have asked for a bowling break ahead of IPL 2021.
"I don’t know who decides that Hardik Pandya’s workload has become excessive. Since he has come back from his [back] surgery, he hasn’t played much cricket. He sat out in the Tests, played the 5 T20Is and bowled in 2-3 of those… so he hasn’t taken any load yet. I can understand if he is playing constantly and is playing every format but at the moment he has only bowled 4-4 overs in 3-4 T20I games. But yes, this is a possibility that he himself might have asked for a break from bowling in the ODIs to prevent any injuries before the IPL," signed off Virender Sehwag.
The series decider will commence at the same venue at 1:30 pm IST on Sunday, March 28.