Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya was supposed to embark on India A tour to New Zealand in preparations to making his comeback into the senior team as well. However, at the nth moment, Hardik Pandya was pulled from the touring party and replaced with Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar, and the reason given was he had allegedly failed a fitness test.
Pandya, who has been out of the Indian cricketing scene since the South Africa T20I series with his last match coming on September 22. He had suffered back problems during the 2018 Asia Cup when he was stretchered off the pitch during a match against Pakistan. He then missed a significant chunk of cricket, before coming back against New Zealand in 2019 and then played the World Cup as well, before going down with the injury again and then underwent back surgery in London.
He had gotten fit after a rigorous rehabilitation process and even got engaged with his girlfriend Natasa Stankovic. He was supposed to get back into the grind of top-level cricket but was pulled from the tour of New Zealand by his personal trainer S Rajnikanth.
“He can score a 20 in yoyo test”: Hardik Pandya’s trainer
“He is 100% fit. There is no doubt about that. But I don’t want him to take the workload of back-to-back international matches. No fitness test has been conducted for Pandya yet, so there’s no question of him failing any test,” Rajnikanth was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
He refuted the speculations that Pandya was replaced in India A squad for the tour as he had failed a fitness test conducted by the BCCI. Instead, the trainer clarified that it was him that pulled him from the tour citing workloads of international cricket. “But that’s not because he’s not fit or has failed any test.
He’s fit, he can score a 20 in yoyo right now. He’s doing his 20 meters too, effortlessly. Why I pulled him out is because of his bowling. That is still work in progress – the bowling workload at the international level,” Rajnikanth added.
This means Pandya won’t be a part of the Indian senior team that will travel to New Zealand for five T20Is, 3 ODIs, and two Test matches in late January. The trainer has sent all data and reports related to Pandya to the BCCI. The board and the NCA are in the loop where developments are concerned.
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