Indian squads for the upcoming limited-over and Test series in New Zealand will be picked on Sunday and ace all-rounder Hardik Pandya is set to make a comeback to the national side. Virat Kohli’s men will play five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against the Kiwis between January 24 and March 4 besides a three-day game in February. The Indian squad will leave for New Zealand following the conclusion of their three-day ODI series starting next week. Pandya is set to be picked for the T20I squad.
Pandya, who last played for India in a T20I game against South Africa in Bengaluru last September, is recovering from a chronic lower back injury. He is currently in New Zealand with the India ‘A’ side and two warm-up one-dayers between New Zealand ‘A’ and India ‘A’ as part of his rehabilitation and his fitness will be gauged after those games scheduled in the third week of January.
Hardik Pandya last played for India in September
Pandya, like Jasprit Bumrah who has also missed cricket since touring the West Indies in August, has decided to stay away from the National Cricket Academy during his rehab.
“The selectors will name the squads on Sunday and the T20 team will be leaving the day after the third ODI game between India and Australia. They will fly from Bengaluru itself as it makes more sense logistically. No point in the team dispersing after the Australia game and then regrouping again and heading to New Zealand” quoted IndiaTV.
The report also cited other reports quoting a senior BCCI official as saying that Pandya is an integral form of India’s plans for the T20 World Cup and he has been included in the India A side to prove his fitness.
“About Hardik, it’s only about checking out if he is fully fit for international cricket or not. He is very integral to India’s World T20 plans,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying.
This is the second time in two years that Pandya has is making a comeback to international cricket in New Zealand. Last January, too, he returned to the national side while during an ODI series in New Zealand after remaining out for months because of injury followed by a TV controversy.
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