With Harshal Patel failing to impress in his return to Team India’s T20I side, fans and experts have been left wondering over the 31-year-old’s fitness ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. The RCB star along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar have failed to impress lately, with the latter also named in India’s squad for the showpiece event. Although India secured a 2-1 win against Australia in the three-match T20I series, Harshal returned with figures of zero for 49 in four overs, zero for 32 and 1 for 18 in two overs. Despite his poor form, it looks like he is still a crucial cog in Rohit Sharma’s playing XI, with the Indian captain calling him ‘an important player’.
Speaking during the post-match press conference on Sunday, Rohit explained, “He is an important player for us. Coming back after an injury is never easy. He missed cricket for close to two months. Whenever a bowler goes through that injury phase, and they have to come back, it’s not easy. We’ve not really judged him for how he has performed in these three games because we know his quality.”
“He has bowled some really tough overs in the past and also for his franchise (Royal Challenger Bangalore). It’s important to keep showing that faith. He is also trying to rectify his mistakes. He is working hard on his bowling, as I see in the nets. He is not too far from his best.”
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar, who was earlier known for his expertise in the 19th over, has been faltering. During the Asia Cup, he conceded 19 in that over against Pakistan, 14 vs Sri Lanka. Then in the opening T20I vs Australia, he conceded 16 runs in Mohali. Then in the final T20I, he was clobbered for 21 runs by Tim David during the 18th over. Despite leaking runs, the veteran bowler will be aiming to find some momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup and Rohit feels ‘he is not short of confidence’.
“With Bhuvi, it’s important that we give him that space. Honestly speaking, in the last so many years, he has had more good days than bad days. Off late, his performance was not what he wanted. But that can happen to any bowlers. It is not easy to bowl at death. We have been working on some plans, and hopefully, we will give him more options to bowl in the death and then he’ll be as good as he was before”, the Indian skipper said.
“I have spoken to him personally, and he is not short of confidence; I can clearly see it is there. As a team, we believe in his ability. He has done the job for us in the past, and a few bad games don’t change the fact the kind of quality he possesses as a bowler”, he further added.