'Hardik Pandya has a bad sprain, hasn't bowled yet'; won't play against England, Sri Lanka in World Cup 2023: Reports
Pandya hasn't yet started bowling but the good thing is that the swelling on his ankle has subsided. However, he will miss the England and Sri Lanka matches.
Hardik Pandya is set to be ruled out of India's next two World Cup 2023 league games against England and Sri Lanka, reported The Indian Express. The all-rounder will only return for the final two league matches against South Africa and the Netherlands. Pandya, who is currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, was slated to join the Indian side before India's next match against England in Lucknow on October 28 but that plan has now been changed. He is likely to return to the squad either in Mumbai (ahead of the Sri Lanka match) or in Kolkata before the match against South Africa on November 5.
Hardik hobbled off the field after flipping in his follow-through in the match against Bangladesh in Pune. He had just bowled three balls in the match and could not take further part. He was taken for scans, which revealed nothing major but the impact of the fall left his ankle swollen. He had to miss the match against New Zealand in Dharamsala.
News agency PTI reported that Hardik hasn't yet started bowling but the good thing is that the swelling on his ankle has subsided.
"Hardik is still under medication. While the swelling on his left ankle has subsided considerably, he will start bowling only towards the weekend. Right now, important is to give him time to recover," an NCA source told PTI.
Since India are in a very strong position to make the semifinals, having won all five matches so far, Pandya could easily be rested for the next two matches which will allow him a complete recovery before the knock-outs.
"Pandya has suffered a bad sprain but fortunately not a fracture. The BCCI medical team wants to take maximum precautions. He is likely to miss the next two to three matches. The team wants him fully fit for the knock-out stage," added a BCCI source.
Hardik Pandya irreplaceable
Hardik is pivotal to India's plans for the World Cup. He allows India to play six bowling options without compromising on batting depth. In fact, if anything, his presence makes it possible for captain Rohit Sharma to field a bowling all-rounder - Shardul Thakur - in the XI.
In the match against New Zealand, India needed two players to fill the gap of Pandya. Suryakumar Yadav came in as a specialist batter at No.6 while Shardul had to make way for Mohammed Shami. The selection proved to be a great one as Shami had an immediate impact on the match by picking up a five-wicket haul. But New Zealand batters Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra showed that India can be put under pressure if Kuldeep Yadav is attacked. Rohit did not have an extra bowler up his sleeves when Ravindra and Michell were going strong in the middle. That is where Pandya comes in handy. He allows Rohit to rotate the spinners in the middle overs instead of bowling them from both ends.
India would hope the specialist batters and bowlers do their job till Pandya returns to the XI for the latter half of the tournament.
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