India tour of South Africa: Now Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, asked to report to NCA

India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, BCCI official says 'needs to prove fitness, should report to NCA'
India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, BCCI official says 'needs to prove fitness, should report to NCA'

India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful – After being dropped from the home series against New Zealand, Hardik Pandya is also doubtful for the South Africa tour. The BCCI and the selectors want him to report to NCA after the break and prove his fitness in order to be considered for the South Africa tour. Follow IND vs SA and IND vs NZ on InsideSport.IN.

“His recovery from injury will mainly depend on rest. He should be visiting the NCA soon and we will take a call on his inclusion in South Africa tour depending on his fitness,” a BCCI official told InsideSport.

India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, asked to report to NCA 

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Hardik Pandya could not quite get going against Pakistan, India vs Pakistan, Men's T20 World Cup 2021, Super 12s, Dubai, October 24, 2021

The all-rounder, who has been struggling with fitness, played all matches in the T20 World Cup but wasn’t successful. His poor form was identified as one of the reasons for India’s debacle. He was promptly dropped from the side and asked to regain fitness. In the meantime, Venkatesh Iyer was handed India debut in the New Zealand series.

India Tour of South Africa: What is going on with Hardik Pandya?

  • Hardik Pandya is facing a recurrence of the back problem that sidelined him for over six months.
  • Bowling aggregates the problem and that is the reason he has been advised against it.
  • In T20 World Cup, he did bowl but he is still not at his 100% and has been slow.
  • He was dropped for the New Zealand series and was asked to rest.
  • With the squad for the South Africa tour set to be announced after the 1st Test against NZ, the BCCI wants him to report to NCA and prove his fitness.
  • If he is fit, he will be selected for the ODI and T20I series starting from January 11.
  • In the meantime, he has been advised not to play in Vijay Hazare Trophy but it is a call that has been left to him.

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A topless Hardik Pandya jogs around the ground, February 9, 2021

However, a section of the board and the India team management including new head coach Rahul Dravid do not want to shut the door on Hardik Pandya. He is still considered the best all-rounder of this generation and the board wants him to complete his recovery program and report to NCA for rehabilitation. If he passes the fitness test by the selection meeting, he can still board the flight for South Africa for the limited-overs series. He is not currently in consideration for Tests.

India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, asked to report to NCA

“At this moment, he is no way near the required fitness level for Test cricket. He needs time and we don’t want to rush things like was the case before the World Cup. If he is ready, he will be sent for the ODI and T20 series,” the official told InsideSport.

Not quite at full pace, but Hardik Pandya turned his arm over after a long gap in international cricket, Sydney, Australia vs India, 2nd ODI, November 29, 2020

However, with Rahul Dravid taking charge as the head coach, many expected him to ask players to play in domestic cricket and earn their place back in the national team. But for Hardik, it may not be the case. He is unlikely to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (December 8-27) as the board and the selectors don’t want to risk further injuries. During this time, he is likely to spend time at the NCA and complete his rehabilitation. But the BCCI has left it to Hardik Pandya to take the call.

India tour of South Africa: Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, asked to report to NCA

“Playing in Vijay Hazare will be up to his fitness. We have important series coming up and it is better for him to be fit than playing in Hazare. But that is a call that needs to be taken after he is fully fit. At the moment, he is not. If he wants to play, it will be up to him,” the official said.