Hardik Pandya: The fitness of star all-rounder has become a source of concern for defending champions Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021.
Indian Premier League defending champions Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond believes there’s no point in “rushing back” injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya for he could end up missing the whole tournament while forcefully playing a match.
Pandya, who had last played competitive cricket during the tour of Sri Lanka in July this year, has missed Mumbai’s first two IPL 2021 Phase 2 matches due to an injury. While Pandya has had an issue with his back for a couple of years now, the exact nature of this injury hasn’t been confirmed.
“One thing our franchise does is look after our players. There’s also no point in rushing him [Hardik Pandya] back to get injured and miss the rest of the tournament when we have a chance to win it.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) September 24, 2021
“I think we’re doing the right thing and hopefully we’ll get him back shortly and he’ll have an impact in the back end of the tournament and get us into the play-offs and hopefully win the tournament from there,” Bond said after last night’s Kolkata Knight Riders vs MI clash in Abu Dhabi.
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With Indians losing their last two matches, they have dropped to the sixth position on the points table after winning four and losing five matches this season.
In the remaining five matches, MI will have to win at least thrice to qualify for the playoffs on the basis of their net run rate. While they have been in a similar position on several occasions in the past, Indians pulling off another playoff spot would be comparatively difficult in Pandya’s absence.
Further speaking about the 27-year old player, Bond talked on the lines of fellow New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult saying that Pandya is close to playing in the upcoming matches.
“Hardik’s training well. He’s trained today. He’s been close to playing. We’re obviously balancing the needs of our team and the needs of team India as well.
“It’s the one thing that this franchise does really well is look after its players with an eye not only to win this competition but an eye to the World Cup that’s coming up as well. Hopefully, Hardik can be back for the next match and as I said he’s trained today and he’s going pretty well,” Bond added.
Mumbai are scheduled to play their third match of the second leg against Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 26 in Dubai.