Hardik Pandya endured an underwhelming performance for Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021. Due to his fitness concern, he didn’t bowl a single over throughout the tournament and couldn’t make a lot of contribution with the bat either. In 12 matches, he has scored 127 runs at an average of 14.11. It also includes a top score of 40 which helped Mumbai Indians beat Punjab Kings. Consequently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken a big step to ensure a robust squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
As per the latest reports, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Venkatesh Iyer has been picked as a cover for Pandya. He has been told to stay back in UAE for the T20 World Cup 2021. Iyer will join the India bio-bubble for the big-ticket event after the completion of IPL 2021.
Having said that, the management isn’t likely to make any replacement for Hardik Pandya despite his inability to bowl. Even if he won’t be able to bowl, he is likely to play as a batsman in the tournament.
“There is no question of replacing Hardik at this stage. Shardul or Deepak are not ready to take on the role. We have to develop backup in future. But now, it’s not the time, he will not be replaced,” a BCCI source told InsideSport.
On the other hand, Venkatesh Iyer has impressed one and all with his all-around exploits for KKR in the second leg of IPL 2021. In eight matches in the IPL 2021, Iyer has scored 265 runs at an average of 37.85 and 123.35 strike rate. Apart from that, he has bagged three wickets with an economy rate of 8.53. Ahead of the big game between DC and KKR, Iyer is likely to play a big role for Kolkata at the top of the order.