Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who underwent successful back surgery in London in October 2019, was expected to make a comeback to the national team during the ongoing tour of New Zealand. However, the inability to regain full fitness ahead of India A tour to New Zealand, for which he had been picked, meant that his comeback plans were put on hold. In the last month, Pandya had travelled to London along with the National Cricket Academy (NCA) head physio Ashish Kaushik for a review by spine surgeon Dr James Allibone, who advised him an intense rehabilitation programme.
The cricketer seems to have fully recovered and is all set to make a comeback to competitive cricket later this month. He is expected to take part in the DY Patil T20 tournament later this month, where he will represent the Reliance team, the owners of the IPL side Mumbai Indians for whom Pandya plays in the edition.
A successful return will increase his chances of playing in the IPL as well, in which Pandya will be hoping for a good show as he aims to break into the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.
In his absence, the Indian team struggled to find a quality seaming all-rounder who could wield the handle a long way in the death overs. His replacement Shivam Dube failed to leave any sort of impact with both bat and ball in the recent T20I tour of New Zealand, where he picked up just 2 wickets in five games and scored 13, 8*, 3, 12 and 5 in the chances with the bat.
Pandya had played a big role in Mumbai Indians’ title-winning run in the IPL 2019, where he scored 402 runs at a whopping strike rate of 91.42. He had also picked up 14 wickets at an average of just over 27, and the franchise will be hoping that he can regain full fitness and be at his best in the upcoming season as well.