India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders’ fitness are key to India, Australia’s T20 World Cup hopes

India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders' fitness are key to India, Australia's T20 World Cup hopes
India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders' fitness are key to India, Australia's T20 World Cup hopes

India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya, Marcus Stoinis sweat on fitness – India and Australia will lock horns in their final warm-up game on Wednesday before the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup kicks off this weekend. Both teams arrive at the tournament as contenders, but a lot will depend on the fitness and form of their all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Marcus Stoinis. Both Pandya and Stoinis have struggled with injuries coming into the final warm-up game, which gives them the final chance to showcase their fitness before the tournament

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India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders’ fitness are key to India, Australia’s T20 World Cup hopes

India are heavily reliant on Hardik Pandya to remain fit but most importantly bowl. The Mumbai Indians star is the only all-rounder in the squad alongside Ravindra Jadeja. While the likes of Shardul Thakur, Ravi Ashwin can bat, none can chip in with a sizeable contribution like Pandya, who retains the ability to single-handedly change games despite his poor form.

Australia were handed a huge scare after Marcus Stoinis limped off during the recently concluded IPL 2021 with a hamstring injury. While he returned for the Delhi Capitals’ final game of the season and the first warm-up, he hasn’t bowled yet, which could put Australia in a spot of bother. The 32-year-old is Australia’s first choice all-rounder and provides a vital 6th bowling alternative to captain Aaron Finch.

India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders’ fitness are key to India, Australia’s T20 World Cup hopes

Stoinis feels that he is ready to bowl and could very well roll his arm over during the warm-up clash against India after significant progress with his injury. In the odd chance that the Australian will be unable to bowl, Finch has options in Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell who can put a shift in with the ball in hand. Marsh was used as the fifth bowling option vs New Zealand, but was taken for 53 runs in his quota of overs.  

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The situation is a bit direr for India with Pandya having not bowled at all during the IPL. The Mumbai Indians star is battling with back and shoulder issues and huge question marks remain on his ability to bowl. Unlike Australia, Virat Kohli doesn’t possess a sixth bowler in their ranks and will have to make do with the resources at his disposal.

Marcus Stoinis returned to bowling action for Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2021

India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders’ fitness are key to India, Australia’s World Cup hopes

Hardik Pandya vs Marcus Stoinis with the bat in UAE

  M Inn R B 4 6 Ave SR
Hardik Pandya 19 18 356 225 20 28 32.36 158.22
Marcus Stoinis 19 18 370 260 32 16 24.67 142.31

Hardik Pandya vs Marcus Stoinis with the ball in UAE

  M Inn O R W Ec
Marcus Stoinis 19 14 30.5   13 9.44
Hardik Pandya Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled in the UAE

 

India vs Australia: Marcus Stoinis vs Hardik Pandya- How two all rounders’ fitness are key to India, Australia’s T20 World Cup hopes

Speaking ahead of the warm-up game against India, Marcus Stoinis said, “[My] hammy is good. I didn’t bowl tonight, but it’s tracking pretty well. It feels like it’s on the right track and it’s ready to go. I guess I’ll probably bowl in that next game.”

India vs Australia: Earlier, a BCCI official told InsideSport that Hardik Pandya is unlikely to bowl in the T20 World Cup, and hence Shardul Thakur was drafted into the squad.“It’s clear, he (Hardik Pandya) can’t bowl. He will purely play as a batsman in the World Cup. By the later stages of the World Cup he may recover & can bowl but for now it won’t be possible. We feel sorry for Axar Patel but for the sake of team balance he had to make way for Shardul” said the source. 

While there’s debate whether Hardik Pandya will make the side as a pure batsman, South African legend Dale Steyn believes that the MI star is a game-changer and should feature in the Playing XI. Speaking to Star Sports, Steyn said, “Look, he’s a game-changer. That’s the big thing. He is a gamechanger whether he’s got bat or ball in his hand, specifically with that bat actually. He hasn’t bowled a lot lately, at all to be honest. I would pick him purely on his batting alone.”