Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond opened up on the absence of Hardik Pandya in the side's playing XI in the past two games. While MI skipper Rohit Sharma made a return to the side in their game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday, Pandya remained on the bench.
Bond said that the franchise is trying to balance the "needs of our team with the needs of Team India," adding that there is no point in rushing in players.
"Hardik is training well. He trained today (Thursday) and he is getting closer to playing. We are balancing the needs of our team along with the needs of Team India as well. This franchise looks after its players. We are hopeful that Hardik will be back for the next match, he trained well on Thursday," Bond said in the post-match press conference.
"It is not a hard directive, you have a duty towards the players. You have to look after them, like anything you have to balance everything and you have to balance what the player wants. One thing our franchise does is look after our players. There is no point in rushing him back, you do not want him to get injured and miss rest of the tournament when we have a chance to win it."
After being invited to bat, MI made a strong start with Rohit (33) and Quinton de Kock (55) adding 78 runs on the board in 9.2 overs. However, the side lost quick wickets in the middle-order again to end on a score of 155/6.
The Knight Riders chased down the target with 29 balls to spare, losing only three wickets.
"It is a fair comment. When you look at our team, we are probably operating around 80 per cent. We controlled the first six overs and we got into a position to further control the game against KKR, but as you rightly said that the middle-order has not got going. We talk about someone kicking through, we have not been able to do that and once again we found ourselves with a sub-par score," Bond said.
"The one thing we do know is that we have got a quality batting lineup. There are good surfaces so I am hoping that the team can kick in because we need to quickly start winning some games."