India skipper Virat Kohli spoke about the importance of having the sixth bowler in the team ahead of their clash against New Zealand in the ongoing 20-20 World Cup. Both the top sides will look for their first win in the showpiece event after suffering losses against Pakistan. A win for either side will boost their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.
Usually, Hardik Pandya fills the slot for the sixth bowling option but the all-rounder has not bowled much in the build-up to the marquee event. However, Kohli hinted that Pandya might bowl a few overs against New Zealand.
“It’s very important to have a sixth bowling option – whether through me or Hardik Pandya. He should have to be able to bowl one or two overs,” Kohli said in a pre-match press conference on the eve of the New Zealand game.
The India skipper further revealed that the playing XI against New Zealand will be picked according to the game situation, matchups, and playing conditions. “Game situation dictates when to use your sixth bowling option. In our last match, if they (Pakistan) batted first, I could also have bowled one or two overs. But in the second innings when we needed wickets, we just had to bowl our primary bowlers. It’s not that a team with six-seven bowling options doesn’t lose,” the skipper said.
If Pandya is not fit enough to bowl, India have an option of playing Shardul Thakur who can be a like to like replacement. Kohli was effusive in praise of Thakur and feels he brings a lot of value to the team. He also revealed that Shardul Thakur is in the plans for the next game.
“He’s (Shardul) definitely a guy who’s in our plans, constantly making a case of for himself. He is definitely someone who can bring a lot of value to the team.”
“What role he plays or where he fits in, that’s something that I cannot obviously talk about right now. But yes, Shardul is someone who’s got great potential and he will add great value to the team,” Kohli added.