Growing concerns surround Hardik Pandya’s prolonged absence from the Indian cricket team after he failed to participate in Thursday’s optional practice session. This has led to speculation about his non-availability for the imminent England match this Sunday and possibly even longer.
Hardik Pandya, India’s notable all-rounder, is currently undergoing a focused rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru following an ankle injury sustained during a game against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19.
His participation in the forthcoming matches, specifically against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on November 2 and South Africa in Kolkata on November 5, hangs in the balance. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier expressed hope for Pandya’s recovery in time for the Lucknow match against England.
Following the injury, a media release by BCCI conveyed, “Hardik Pandya sustained an injury to his left ankle during India’s match against Bangladesh… He is advised rest and will be under the constant supervision of the BCCI Medical Team.” The release assured that the injury was minor, but the player’s return to the field remains undetermined.
In Pandya’s absence, the strategic debate for the Indian team lies between opting for a third spinner, possibly R Ashwin, or retaining a trio of pacers for the upcoming match. Given that the Lucknow pitch isn’t notably dry, which usually gives an edge to spinners, the team’s final call will be made after evaluating the conditions closely. The team is slated for another optional practice session on Friday, as informed by a team spokesman.
Fortunately, the swelling on Pandya’s ankle has shown signs of recovery, though he hasn’t commenced bowling.
Notably, reports indicate Pandya’s absence from the league games against England and Sri Lanka, with an anticipated return for the final two matches against South Africa and the Netherlands. His expected re-entry to the squad is speculated to be either before the Mumbai match against Sri Lanka or in Kolkata ahead of the game with South Africa.
Recounting the injury, Pandya had to leave the field against Bangladesh after a flip during his bowling follow-through. The aftermath scans didn’t flag any severe concerns, but the swelling on his ankle post the fall forced him to sit out the match against New Zealand in Dharamsala.