Hardik Pandya injury update: The Indian all-rounder has been ruled out of the Australia series due to a back injury.
A handful of days before the limited-overs series against Australia, India have lost the services of all-rounder Hardik Pandya. The 25-year old cricketer has been ruled out of both the T20I and ODI series due to a stiff lower back.
Since getting injured in the Asia Cup last year, Pandya has only played three ODIs and three T20Is at the highest level. Also missing the series against Australia will raise apprehensions about his preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Pandya is expected to undergo strength and conditioning training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru from next week.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who was dropped from the ODI squad after the recently concluded series against New Zealand, has been called up as a replacement for Pandya.
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 21, 2019
BREAKING: Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of India’s T20I and ODI series against Australia due to lower back stiffness; Ravindra Jadeja to replace him in the ODI squad #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/YOhHU5ibV9
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 21, 2019
Since his comeback in the ODI side last year, Jadeja had dismissed 16 batsmen in 11 matches at an average of 30.87, an economy rate of 4.75 and a strike rate of 38.9. With the bat in hand, Jadeja had scored 76 runs in five innings at an average of 19 and a strike rate of 77.55.
Pandya’s absence will disrupt balance
The development has come as an unfortunate one for the Indian cricket team. Pandya’s absence has it in him to disrupt the balance of the side. With him in the squad, the Indian team could have rehearsed with the World Cup combination against Australia.
The Indian conditions with aid the hosts in playing Jadeja as an all-rounder. However, some questions will remain unanswered with respect to the combination for the World Cup.
JUST IN: Hardik Pandya ruled out of the T20I & ODI series vs Australia due to lower back stiffness. No replacement in T20 squad. R Jadeja comes in for the ODIs
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) February 21, 2019
— Ritika Sajdeh ™ (@ImRitika45) February 21, 2019
Selectors missed a trick
One also believes that the selectors perhaps missed a trick by not including a fast bowler as Pandya’s replacement. Currently, there are only three specialist fast bowlers in the side. Pandya’s injury would have been the perfect opportunity to audition someone like Umesh Yadav in the ODI format before the world event.
In Pandya’s absence, the team management is most likely to give more chances to the duo of Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant down the order. Shankar, a right-hand batsman who bowls medium-pace, will also need to make a mark with his bowling in a bid to press his case for the all-rounder’s spot in the World Cup.
India will play the first T20I against Australia on February 24 at Visakhapatnam.