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T20 World Cup: Hardik always had confidence in his ability, says bowling coach Mhambrey

India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said vice-captain Hardik Pandya always has the confidence is his abilities despite a poor run in IPL 2024, adding that he has now found the bowling rhythm in the Men’s T20 World Cup.

Pandya had picked up only 11 wickets in 14 matches of IPL 2024, where he captained Mumbai Indians, who finished at the bottom of the points table. Since then, the fast-bowling all-rounder has made a steady turnaround in the T20 World Cup here, picking five wickets in two matches, including a crucial 2-24 in the thrilling six-run win against Pakistan.

“One thing I was definitely sure about was that Hardik has confidence in his ability. Sometimes there’s no rhythm in a tournament. Even if you try, the rhythm doesn’t come, as it takes time. I think that was a phase where the rhythm didn’t come. As a bowler, you do everything – bowl consistently and you play. In his case, he was not able to maintain his rhythm.

“If it was worrisome, he would not have done anything in that phase. But one thing was for that his work ethic was going on the same as before. Because he has done a lot of bowling, he has a lot of understanding about his bowling.

“So, he was sure that if work ethics was going on, the rhythm will come. You can see, in the last one or two matches he bowled, if you compare it with the IPL and the rhythm now, as a bowler he has now got the rhythm. So, that’s it, it’s all about rhythm,” said Mhambrey ahead of India’s clash against USA at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night.

Mhambrey stated India’s stupendous bowling performance against Pakistan, where they defended 119 on a tricky New York pitch, is one of the finest showings in recent times. “Well, there were a couple of them, I thought in a different format. The test win in South Africa, the last game that we played there was phenomenal.

“But, if you look at the context of the game, if you look at the tournament, the pressure, the way we handled the pressure, this was definitely very much up there in terms of the performance, fabulous performance.

“In a game like this, especially when you have so much pressure in terms of the high intensity game, against Pakistan, whatever you say, it’s never going to be a normal game to be able to defend. When you’re batting you expect at a situation where we were nicely placed to get more runs. But especially when that doesn’t happen, you know you’re defending low scores.

“The only way out there is to go and bowl at your best. In that context, I thought to be able to defend that score on a wicket which definitely got better was phenomenal. Every individual up there did his job. That’s what we expect at this level. But everything coming together is also important, and that’s what the game – all the bowlers, the game plan came in. I think we executed our plans very well and when that happens, the victory is sweet.”

Mhambrey signed off by saying India aren’t taking co-hosts USA lightly, who have four points coming off victories against Canada and Pakistan. Moreover, USA has former India domestic players in Saurabh Netravalkar, Harmeet Singh, Monank Patel, Milind Kumar, and Nisarg Patel, who know a lot about the Rohit Sharma-led side.

“You can’t take any game lightly. This is the World Cup. Every game matters. Your rhythm is important. Winning is a habit that you need to get into early. You need to get in early to perform. In this context, every game is important. So, for us, it’s going to be like any other game. It’s like we played Pakistan and Ireland. So, it’s going to be a similar game for us,” he said.

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