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Hasty comeback aggravated Hardik’s ankle injury

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Mumbai, March 18: Hardik Pandya’s bid to hasten his comeback towards the business end of last year’s ODI World Cup game actually aggravated his ankle injury and in the process delayed his possible return by five months.
Pandya had twisted his ankle trying to stop the ball on his follow-through during India’s fourth World Cup game against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19.
Initially, he had eyed a comeback during home T20Is versus Afghanistan but after a prolonged rehabilitation, his comeback vehicle turns out to be upcoming IPL – a cash-rich league that catapulted the colourful Baroda all-rounder into instant stardom around a decade back.
“My injury was a freak one. It had nothing to do with my past injuries or my fitness. I tried to stop the ball and twisted my ankle. When I got injured, my injury from day one clearly showed that I would be out of the World Cup,” Pandya said during a media interaction organised by Mumbai Indians here on Monday.
Pandya was itching to make a comeback by semi-finals but his desperation proved to be counter-productive in the long run.
“We pushed but it would have been an uphill task that I would be fit for the World Cup semifinals or the final. When we pushed, it kind of triggered the injury and my recovery took longer (than expected).”
Pandya admitted that his urge to represent India half-fit during World Cup semifinal was unjustifiable.
Pandya said he was back to full fitness around the time India played a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan at home, but did not have enough opportunities to play.
The all-rounder was recently a part of the Reliance One team at the DY Patil T20 tournament, which marked his return to professional cricket after a the lay-off.
Asked if Pandya will bowl in the IPL, the MI skipper replied in “affirmative”.
Waiting for update on SKY
Meanwhile, MI head coach Mark Boucher said the team is waiting to hear from the Indian cricket board on the fitness status of star batter Suryakumar Yadav.
“We are awaiting updates on Suryakumar from the BCCI. We have always been under a cloud of fitness issues but we have a world-class medical team. We may lose one or two in terms of fitness but we have to move on as it is sport,” Boucher said.
It has earlier reported that world’s No.1 ranked T20 batter, who is recuperating from a sports hernia surgery, is likely to miss the first few games but his rehabilitation as far as World T20 is concerned is on track.
No policy of resting players
Boucher, however, said that there would be no policy of resting the players keeping this year’s T20 World Cup in mind.
“As the coach of Mumbai Indians, I am going to be a little bit biased and hoping to see my best players play all games. I have a soft spot for my players and I do understand that they might have niggles and that’s when I will fall back on my medical team and work with them accordingly,” he said.
Talking about Rohit Sharma, Boucher said the Indian skipper was “fantastic” against England in the recently-concluded Test series and hoped to have his rich form continuing in the IPL.
“Rohit has been in a fantastic touch. The way he was hitting the ball against England was fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing him go out and express himself. If he has a fantastic season, we will be there in the dying stages of the tournament,” Boucher said.
Rohit’s role in MI
Hardik on Monday said his predecessor Rohit will continue to be a guiding force for him during the IPL despite the unexpected change of leadership that the franchise announced ahead of the upcoming season, triggering a “backlash” from the fans.
Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans in the past two seasons, is back at Mumbai Indians as captain for the 2024 edition. Having led Mumbai Indians to five titles, Rohit was surprisingly replaced by Pandya going into the upcoming season.
“It will not be any different, he will always be there to help me. You mentioned that he is the captain of the Indian team, which helps me because this team, what it has achieved, it has achieved under him “…from now onwards, it is (about) what he has achieved, I just have to carry forward that,” Pandya said.
“I don’t think it will be any awkward or any different. It will be nice feeling because we have been playing for 10 years. I have played my whole career under him and he is going to have his hand on my shoulder throughout the season,” he added.
Pandya admitted his move of leaving the Gujarat Titans’ captaincy and replacing Rohit at the helm in Mumbai Indians did upset a section of fans. (PTI)

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