Hardik Pandya acknowledged that he misses the bowling side of his game. The Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder is yet to bowl in IPL 2021, despite delivering a few overs in the India-England series earlier this year.
Ever since his back surgery in 2019, the team management has been cautious regarding Pandya's bowling workload, and as a result, fans haven't seen him in action with the ball in the IPL this season.
The 27-year-old, who has only played as a batsman so far in this IPL, said that he doesn't feel the pressure to play as a pure batsman. Speaking at a pre-match interview ahead of MI's clash against the Punjab Kings, Hardik Pandya said:
"I do miss my bowling but I don't think it's putting more pressure on my batting. Its just part and parcel of the game. I have realised that playing as an all-rounder throughout my life, I have learnt how to deal with it (injuries) and move forward with a smile."
Mumbai Indians have had a mixed start to their 2021 IPL campaign, winning two games while losing two. However, the five-time title winners are known to be slow starters, and they usually pick up their performance at the business end of the tournament.
Hardik Pandya talks about the challenge of playing in Chennai
Mumbai Indians have played all their games so far at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, where batting has been difficult compared to their usual home ground - the Wankhede Stadium.
MI will play their last game in Chennai today against the Punjab Kings before shifting base to Delhi for their next four IPL matches.
Hardik Pandya, though, doesn't mind the challenge that the batsmen have had to face in Chennai so far. He said:
"Absolutely, why not (On being asked whether he likes the challenge of playing in Chennai compared to Mumbai). It has to be testing. You need some challenges as well. 4 games its been difficult but I have realised playing this game that whenever you come its a fresh day, you can do wonders any point of time."
Mumbai's domination of the IPL has coincided with the rise of Hardik Pandya. However, the 27-year-old is yet to fire in this campaign. Pandya has so far managed scores of 13,15,7 & 0 in the four games in Chennai, and he will be keen to make an impact when his side take on the struggling Punjab Kings today.