The cut-off date to make changes to the Twenty20 World Cup squad is Sunday (October 10). It will be interesting to see whether the Indian selectors will drop a not fully fit Hardik Pandya and bring in Shardul Thakur or Deepak Chahar in his place.
All-rounder Pandya has not bowled a single ball in the ongoing IPL 2021. Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma had mentioned that Pandya was fully fit and could bowl his quota of four overs while announcing the Indian squad last month. However, Pandya missed Mumbai's first couple of matches and has played as a specialist batter in the next four games in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
The Mumbai think tank feels that he will break down if pushed to bowl. India open their T20 World Cup against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24. Pandya is a key player for India and it will upset the balance of the team if he's unable to bowl.
Lack of match practice is hurting Pandya and he's not found his top form with the bat either. Barring a breezy 30-ball unbeaten 40 against Punjab Kings, he's not done anything of note lately.
Thakur and Chahar along with Shreyas Iyer are India's standbys for the marquee event. Proven T20 performers Thakur and Chahar were unlucky not to find a place in the final 15. Thakur had a dream outing against England in the fourth Test at the Oval, while Chahar had won India an ODI with his batting during the tour of Sri Lanka in July.
Both Thakur and Chahar have done well in IPL 2021 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Chahar has picked up 12 wickets from as many games at an economy rate of 8.02, while Thakur has scalped 15 from as many matches at an economy rate of 8.52. Both did not get many chances to showcase their batting skills since the top order and middle order have done the job for CSK.
Chahar is a swing bowler, while Maharashtra seamer Thakur has the uncanny ability to pick up vital wickets. Thakur is a better batter among the two and it won't be a surprise to see him get the nod on Sunday.