Pandya had a forgettable T20 World Cup 2021 barring one innings against Afghanistan, where smashed an unbeaten 35 off 13 balls. More than his performances, it was the confusion over his bowling status that hurt India and also put them in an embarrassing situation during the ICC event.
Asked if Pandya’s future in international cricket is in trouble, Butt responded that it is too early to say so. He pointed out that India backed the all-rounder at the T20 World Cup despite him being unfit, which proves how highly he is rated. Speaking on his YouTube channel, Butt said about Pandya:
“Don’t think Hardik Pandya is out of the scheme of things. It is not a case of him having to go back and do the grind of domestic cricket all over again. We saw that, in spite of him not being fit, he was carried along (during the T20 World Cup). But yes, he will have to work on his fitness and his body.”
The 28-year-old bowled in only two of India’s five T20 World Cup 2021 matches in the UAE. He looked completely ineffective and was wicketless.
Tough time for Hardik Pandya on and off the field
Apart from being dropped from the national team, Pandya has been at the centre of controversy away from the cricket field as well. A few days ago, reports started doing the rounds on social media, claiming an FIR had been registered against Hardik, Munaf Patel and former IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla over rape-molestation charges.
Just a couple of days ago, media reports claimed that two wrist-watches worth INR 5 crore were seized from Pandya at the Mumbai airport on his return from Dubai. The reports stated that Pandya allegedly did not have a bill for the watches.
The Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder dismissed the claims and issued a clarification over the issue. He stated that only one watch worth INR 1.5 crore had been taken and that too for “proper valuation”. Releasing a statement on Twitter, he said:
“I had voluntarily declared all the items that I’d lawfully purchased from Dubai and was ready to pay whatever duties that needed to be paid. As a matter of fact, the customs department had asked for all purchase documents which were submitted; however customs is doing proper valuation for duty which I’ve already confirmed to pay.”
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Meanwhile, India’s T20I vice-captain KL Rahul recently opened up about Pandya’s axing from the Indian team. He described Pandya as a “smart cricketer” who knows how to make a comeback.