India ace Hardik Pandya, on Friday, said he was unwilling to rush his return to bowling and run the risk of exhausting himself ahead of the busy season. After being sidelined for almost entire home season last year due to a back injury, the star allrounder returned to high-profile cricket during IPL 2020 in UAE.
On Friday, he played his first game for India since September 2019. However, he is yet to bowl a single over since returning to competitive action following surgery to treat an acute lower-back injury. And the allrounder has made it clear that he is not likely to bowl any time soon. One of the reasons behind the decision is the T20 World Cups in the next two years.
India definitely missed Hardik Pandya’s bowling on Friday as they lost the first ODI to Australia by 66 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Batting first, the hosts put up a mammoth total of 374 for 6. Barring Mohammed Shami, all the other bowlers had an off day.
“It is a process,” Hardik Pandya said when asked where he was with respect to a return to bowling. “I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100% of my bowling capacity for the most important games. The World Cups are coming. More crucial series are coming.
“I am thinking as a long-term plan, not short-term where I exhaust myself and maybe have something else [injury] which is not there. So it is going to be a process, which I am following. I can’t tell you exactly when I am going to bowl but the process is going on. In the nets, I am bowling. It is just that I am not game-ready but I am still bowling. It is all about confidence and the skill has to be at an international level,” he added.
Hardik Pandya, however, made his mark with the bat and top-scored for the visitors. The allrounder registered his highest ODI score, scoring 90 although he failed to take the team over the line.
He further spoke on the need for another allrounder. He stated that India need to find another allrounder and groom him just like he groomed himself and made himself a bowling option.
“That has been the question always, right?” Hardik Pandya said before adding: “We have to find and maybe make… I have always believed that… even when I came into the circuit, I was not always the allrounder which I wanted to be. But with time I groomed myself and became that bowling option. I worked on my bowling.”