Ace all-rounder Hardik Pandya has also been ruled out of India’s upcoming two-Test series in New Zealand starting later this month and this will only extend his absence from the cricket field for more time. Former India spearhead Zaheer Khan has stood by Hardik asking him to be patient and not rush a comeback.
The 26-year-old hasn’t yet recovered from the back surgery he underwent last year and none other than the BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly confirmed recently that he is not in shape to play.
Pandya was named in the India ‘A’ squad for the tour of New Zealand ahead of the senior team’s visit there but was pulled out after failing the fitness test. He then was ruled out of the limited-overs series featuring five T20Is and three ODIs. Virat Kohli’s men won the T20I series 5-0 while the ODI series kicks off on February 5.
Zaheer, a member of India’s World Cup-winning squad of 2011, is currently the director of cricket at Mumbai Indians — the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise that Pandya plays for. “He should take this time to come back, 120 per cent,” Zaheer was quoted as saying by Sportstar on Monday. “When anyone goes through injuries, it’s not about coming back. It’s about how you come back. You have to be patient through that process, and listen to the team, which is around you in terms of support staff.”
‘It is important to stay patient’: Zaheer Khan
Zaheer, who was more prone to injuries in the earlier part of his career compared to the later, said one has to take his time and not be impatient to return to the team. “It’s about when you come back, it should be in for a long time,” he added.
Pandya, who made a comeback to international cricket in New Zealand in January last year, played his last match in September 2019 during South Africa’s tour of India.
“You know, it’s frustrating at times when you’re away from the game, but it’s very important to stay patient and do the right things, and just control the things which are in your control. It’s about listening to your body, getting 100 per cent and making it sure that you’ve ticked all the boxes,” Zaheer, owner of 610 international wickets, added.
The former left-arm speedster also called India’s 5-0 win over New Zealand in the T20I series as a “huge achievement”. He said the World Cup finalists will find the upcoming ODI series against India a tough one as well.
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