Hardik Pandya is unlikely to return to action any time soon as the BCCI and the National Cricket Academy (NCA) are in no hurry to bring him into the Indian team set-up, according to reports.
The injury-prone allrounder is currently sidelined after suffering an ankle injury during the World Cup in October. He suffered the injury during India’s fourth match of the competition which was against Bangladesh and was ruled out of the entire tournament. He ended up tearing a ligament in his left ankle while trying to stop the ball in his follow-through.
He was expected to return to action during the latter stage of the World Cup but the injury was more serious than it was initially anticipated. The Baroda star was eventually replaced by Prasidh Krishna in India’s World Cup squad. And while Hardik Pandya was expected to be named in India’s squad for the T20I series against Australia, the selectors decided against it.
BCCI and NCA prepare a programme for Hardik Pandya:
Hardik Pandya was not named in India’s squad for the upcoming series against South Africa either. While it has surprised many, the reason behind it is that the BCCI and the NCA are in no hurry to rush the all-rounder back into action.
According to CricketNext, the BCCI and the NCA have drawn an 18-week-long high-performance programme for the allrounder keeping the next two T20 World Cups in mind. The next edition of the T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played in June 2024 in the Caribbean and the USA while India will be hosting the 2026 edition.
“We speak of workload management. This is precisely what it is all about. Is there a doubt on his ability as a T20 cricketer? No. What we rather need is setting long-term goals and ensuring endurance levels remain up to the mark,” a source told CricketNext.
The India star has already started following the personalised high-performance programme. The NCA has made a schedule for the all-rounder for every single day until March. His progress is also being consistently tracked to see how he is reacting to various activities including cardio, strength training, functional training, rest and recovery.
“It is not something new. Shreyas, Bumrah and KL underwent similar programmes during their long injury layoffs and the routine is designed keeping the next assignments in mind. Say for KL, wicket-keeping, subcontinent heat and everything was taken into account. Similarly, Bumrah was eased into cricket with Ireland T20Is before he went full throttle in the Asia Cup,” the source added.
India are scheduled to take on Afghanistan at home next month in a three-match T20I series and Hardik Pandya is more than likely to miss that series too. He is likely to return to action just before the IPL.