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Mumbai Indians Director of Cricket Zaheer Khan gave an update on all-rounder Hardik Pandya that will not only help MI fans breath sigh of relief but will also erase the doubts about his selection in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Zaheer said Hardik has started to practice and he is likely to be available for the selection in MI’s next IPL 2021 match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Sunday. 

Hardik is yet to feature in the MI XI in the UAE leg of this year’s IPL. The star all-rounder was not even seen in the dugout during MI’s first two matches against CSK and KKR, which gave rise to speculations about the seriousness of Hardik’s injury. 

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Zaheer, however, said the junior Pandya has started to train and is likely to practice with the rest of the squad even on Saturday.  

“Well, we have a practice session lined up today and we will see how it goes and then we will take a call. He has started practicing, that is what I can share with you guys, we hope that he will be fit and fine available for the clash against RCB,” said Zaheer during a virtual pre-match press conference.

Hardik’s absence was felt in MI performance in their last two matches. The defending champions failed to chase down a 150-plus target against CSK and then could not post capitalize on the 78-run opening stand between skipper Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock against KKR. They ended losing both the matches.  

Even in bowling, MI appeared to be lacking the variation and depth needed to break a partnership in the middle-overs. 

When asked whether Kieron Pollard is being left to do too much in the middle-order, Zaheer said: “Well, he is happy to do too much. He is that kind of a player and he wants to take that responsibility. The power he brings in the matches, is the game-changing ability he brings to the table,” he said. 

The former India seamer said the MI camp is not too fussed about the twin losses at the start of the UAE leg and said they instead are focussing on white lies ahead of them. 

“I do not want to get into how the games have gone, it is about looking ahead. So, we have to accept what has happened and then look ahead, the focus is on how we can bring out the best in us in the remaining games,” Zaheer added. 

MI, the five time champions, are currently, no.6 in the points table with just three wins in nine matches. They will next on RCB, who too are coming off successive defeats in this IPL. 

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