Dubai, October 5: The legendary Sunil Gavaskar feels that all-rounder Hardik Pandya not bowling in the ongoing IPL 2021 is not only a "big blow" for Mumbai Indians, but also the T20 World Cup-bound Indian team.
The Indian selectors have named Hardik in the T20 World Cup squad, but the Baroda all-rounder has not been bowling for Mumbai Indians, two years after undergoing a back surgery in the UK.
Gavaskar said selecting Hardik as an all-rounder for the T20 World Cup may not look good on the selectors if he doesn't bowl.
"Hardik Pandya, not bowling is a big blow, not just for Mumbai Indians, but for India as well, because he was taken in the team as an all-rounder," Gavaskar said on Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'.
The Indian batting great also added that Pandya not being able to bowl makes it difficult to pick a team as an all-rounder, who is batting lower down the order needs roll his arm over as the fifth bowling option.
"And if you are in the team, batting at No.6 or No.7, and you're not able to bowl, then it makes it difficult for the captain. He doesn't get the flexibility and option that is so required for somebody batting at No.6 or 7 like an all-rounder," said Gavaskar.
Meanwhile, like many other pundits, former India selector Saba Karim also expressed his concern about Pandya not bowling in the IPL 2021.
The cricketer-turned-commentator told YouTube channel 'Khelneeti' that India team will be imbalanced like the Mumbai Indians if their sixth bowling option doesn't bowl during the T20 World Cup.
"Hardik Pandya has been selected in the T20 WC squad to perform the role of a sixth bowler. Hardik not bowling will create an imbalance in the Indian team just as it has created issues for the Mumbai Indians," said Saba Karim.
However the former India wicketkeeper-batsman said it could be a boost if Hardik bowls a few overs in Mumbai Indians' remaining matches.
"If he bowls even 2-3 overs in the remaining couple of matches then it will augur well for Team India," added Saba Karim.
Mumbai Indians will be in action on Tuesday (October 5) when they face Rajasthan Royals in their penultimate match of the season before they play their final league stage game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday (October 8).
(With Agency inputs)