The World Cup commenced with high hopes, and intense battles took an unexpected turn when it was revealed that Hardik Pandya’s participation in the remaining matches might be jeopardized. The talented all-rounder is believed to have suffered a Grade 1 ligament tear in his ankle while fielding off his bowling during the clash against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19.
Hardik’s injury has prompted the medical team, led by Nitin Patel, to swing into action. As per the latest information, the injury appears to be more serious than initially thought. A minor ligament tear usually takes a minimum of two weeks to heal. Hardik’s recovery will occur at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, and he won’t be released until he’s fully healed. The medical team has communicated to the team management that they are optimistic about his return to the field.
“The medical team under Nitin Patel is monitoring him at the the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. But the injury looks a bit more serious than what was first perceived. It looks like he has suffered a minor ligament tear which usually takes at least two weeks to heal. The NCA will not release him before his injury heals. The medical team has communicated to the team management that they are hopeful of putting him back on the pitch soon. The team doesn’t want to bring in a replacement. It’s ready ready to wait for Pandya,” a BCCI source told TOI on Wednesday.
In a show of unity and confidence in Hardik’s abilities, the team has decided not to bring in a replacement. Instead, they are prepared to wait for Pandya to recover. This gesture underscores their faith in his potential to impact when he returns significantly.
The Indian team’s approach is cautious, focused on the long term rather than rushing Hardik back into the squad. This decision’s immediate impact is that Hardik will likely miss India’s next game against England in Lucknow on October 29. His availability for the following two matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa in the first week of November is also uncertain.
“The team is currently comfortably placed in the tournament. Hardik will most likely stay back at NCA to do his rehab rather than travel with the team right now. The current situation is such that a call on Hardik’s involvement for the rest of the tournament will be taken next week. His return to play will have to be carefully charted. His fragile foundation makes the recovery longer than a lot of other players who have greater muscle mass. If need be, he is ready to take injections and play in the business end of the tournament. Anyway, if Hardik isn’t bowling at full tilt, it doesn’t really make such a big difference to the composition,” the source said.
Injuries have marred Hardik Pandya’s cricketing journey. This latest setback has left him disappointed and worried. However, his commitment to the game is unwavering, and he’s prepared to take injections and play in the tournament’s latter stages if needed. It’s a testament to his dedication and determination.
In the absence of Hardik, the Indian team is revisiting its strategies. With expectations of a turning pitch in Lucknow for their next fixture against England, Ravichandran Ashwin’s name has come to the forefront, just as it did in the opening game against Australia. His ability to contribute with both bat and ball could be a game-changer on turning tracks.
In recent games, the Indian team experimented with its batting lineup. Suryakumar Yadav was used at No. 6, while the idea of an effective batter in Shardul Thakur at No. 8 was abandoned. Mohammed Shami is set to become a regular feature in the playing XI, regardless of the pitch conditions or the opponent. On turning pitches, Ashwin’s prowess with the bat at No. 8 could be invaluable, as he has a knack for playing crucial innings in challenging situations.
With Hardik Pandya temporarily out of the bowling attack, the team is strengthening its bowling unit to prevent opposition teams from gaining the upper hand. Shardul Thakur is identified as someone who can break important partnerships. The team will concede a few runs in exchange for the wickets he can deliver, especially on flat surfaces.
As the World Cup drama continues to unfold, the challenges and opportunities for Team India evolve. The team’s belief in Hardik Pandya’s eventual return and the calculated decisions being made are a testament to their determination to clinch victory in this prestigious tournament.