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Hardik’s shoulder niggle a worry for Mumbai Indians

All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s shoulder niggle and workload management are creating a headache for Mumbai Indians as they struggle to find a bowling option who can play the role of a back-up with one of the frontline bowlers going for runs.

MI’s director of cricket operations Zaheer Khan admitted that Hardik’s workload management is creating an imbalance.

In the first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday, they used only five bowlers and with their fifth bowler Rahul Chahar going for runs, MI was left without any option to step in for him and stem the flow of runs.

“It was a workload-related thing in the previous game. He (Hardik) bowled the whole series against England, in the last ODI he bowled about nine overs and that’s why in consultation with the physios we had to take that approach,” said Zaheer while speaking to the media.

Zaheer admitted that there was concern over Hardik’s shoulder as he was throwing under-arm while fielding.

“Hardik as a whole package is of great value, everyone knows. There was a little bit of a concern over his shoulder,” the former India left-arm seamer added.

Zaheer, however, said that the injury is not of great concern or worry.

“I don’t think it is worrisome. You will very soon see him bowl. [For] The timeline (as to when he comes back), you will have to ask the physio. But in terms of Hardik the bowler coming into this tournament, we are very confident that he will be chipping in with the ball in his hand as well.”

The right-arm pace bowling all-rounder had bowled 17 overs in the T20 International series against England, bowling in each game of the shortest-format series. While he didn’t bowl in the first OI, he bowled nine overs in the last and final ODI.

The Indian team management wants to preserve him for the upcoming Tests in England, starting with the World Test Championship final vs New Zealand in Southampton in June and the five-Test series against England in August-September. India also wants him to bowl at the T20 World Cup.

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