Mumbai Indians’ decision to not use Hardik Pandya’s bowling in their first two games of IPL 2020 so far has surprised many. The allrounder has returned to action after a long lay-off after batting a back injury last year before the pandemic struck.
However, he had started full-fledged training at the start of this year and was also seen bowling to Team India in the nets before the Mumbai ODI against Australia. Thus, it has surprised many to see Hardik Pandya still now bowling for Mumbai Indians.
Well, Mumbai Indians’ head coach Mahela Jayawardene finally revealed the reason behind it on Wednesday during the match against Kolkata Knight Riders. And his comment has made it more or less clear that Hardik Pandya is still not at his best in terms of fitness.
The former Sri Lanka captain stated that the team-management would not take any risk with the allrounder and would avail his bowling services only when he is comfortable.
“Just day by day progress. We don’t wanna take a risk. He looks healthy now. So gradually, when he’s comfortable, everyone’s comfortable, we will make a call,” Jayawardene said when asked ‘how far away is Hardik Pandya away from bowling’ by the commentators during the in-match interview.
Mumbai Indians did not really miss the services of their star allrounder during the clash against KKR as they won the game by 49 runs. After posting 195 for 5, the four-time winners restricted KKR to 149 for 9. As far as Hardik Pandya’s performance with the bat is concerned, he scored 18.
The India star is playing his first high profile series since the T20I series against South Africa in September last year. He underwent a successful surgery in October to treat an acute lower-back injury. The back injury was bothering him since the 2018 Asia Cup. In December, he was named in the India A squad for the one-day games in New Zealand.
However, he was later pulled out of the team as he was not match ready. He finally returned to action in DY Patil T20 Tournament in March. He had impressed straightaway by scoring two whirlwind centuries in addition to picking up a five-wicket haul in the tournament. Later, Hardik Pandya was named in India’s ODI squad for the South Africa series too before the series was called off in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.