Over the past few years, Hardik Pandya has played some scintillating cricket for India and his franchise, Mumbai Indians. His all-around abilities make him an indispensable talent for the teams he plays for. Hardik Pandya has struggled with a back injury and underwent back surgery a few months back. Over the past year or so, Pandya has restricted his bowling to the minimum and has played in as a full-time batsman. It is understood that this has been done to manage his stress on the back and protect him from aggravated injuries. However, this has often affected team selection and overall balance.
Over the past few months, the question that has been on everyone’s minds is whether he will be able to bowl in the world cup campaign. His bowling has severe repercussions on India’s team selection as well as their performances. Virat Kohli disclosed before the first match against Pakistan that Pandya was progressively improving and would at some point definitely bowl in the tournament.
This was heartening to see for any Indian fan. He started in the main eleven against Pakistan as a full-time batsman. India lost a flurry of wickets upfront and Pandya came to bat with more than 5 overs. He attempted going aerial and plunging those heaves out of the park. Unfortunately for Pandya and team India, he was unable to connect and get going.
While batting in the middle, Pandya reportedly received a blow on his shoulder. He was in visible pain as could be seen while he was out there battling. He took a moment or two to regain composure and continued to bat. However, it is reported that immediately after the match he was taken to the hospital for scans. This was confirmed by the BCCI. While India took the field to bowl, Ishan Kishan substituted Pandya.
It is now reported that the scans went well and the results are here for us. Thankfully the scans have come clean and no injury has been reported to Pandya. On the medical front, Pandya is fit to take the field in India’s next game in the world cup. India will be facing New Zealand in their next encounter and that would be a quintessential match.
Medically, Pandya may be fit to play but whether he gets picked in the squad to play remains to be seen. Against Pakistan, he had a dismal performance as he could score 11 runs off 7 balls in the death overs. A lot more was expected of him at that point of the match. With Pandya unable to set the stage with his performance and Thakur waiting on the wings, it would be interesting to see what the final combination is that the team management decides to go with.
For the moment, fans can only pray that Pandya’s back heals quicker and he has diagnosed no more injuries. He should preferably be fit to bowl by the playoffs to allow India to have all bases covered. If Pandya takes the field as a complete all-rounder, India looks a different unit.