Hardik ‘Close to Playing’ but Mumbai Won’t Rush His Return
Hardik Pandya’s absence from the MI squad for their first two games in the second leg of the IPL 2021 fuelled speculation about his match fitness while casting doubt on his ability to participate fully in the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in October-November. Shane Bond, bowling coach of Mumbai Indians, addressed the media to assuage the fears, while not giving any details as to the reasons for omitting Pandya from the defending champions’ lineup.
Bond Weighs in
At the post-match conference after MI’s match that they lost to KKR, Bond said,
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.
BCCI Concerned About Hardik’s Workload
Much care has been taken by the BCCI in regard to Hardik and the workloads he has handled since undergoing surgery on his back in 2020. During this period, Pandya has not bowled much, though Chetan Sharma, chief selector, insists that Hardik is back to full fitness and is likely to bowl a full quota of overs when called upon to do so.
When the media asked Bond whether the BCCI had intervened to cause Hardik’s omission from the MI playing eleven, Bond responded,
No, not at all. I think the one thing you want to do with your players in your team is look after them. We’re obviously desperate to put him back on the field and any player would be desperate go out there as well. But like anything you have to balance everything.
Long-Awaited Return to IPL Cricket
The last time Hardik featured in competitive cricket of any kind was back in July when he was a part of an understrength India team on the tour of Sri Lanka. He was however expected to return to the MI playing eleven at some time during the second leg of the IPL and help the franchise to get past the league stage.
One thing our franchise does is look after our players. There’s also no point in rushing him back to get injured and miss the rest of the tournament when we have a chance to win it. 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.
Hardik Pandya finally did feature for Mumbai Indians, who had fallen to sixth place in the points table, in their match against Kings Punjab on September 28. Though he did not bowl in the game, Hardik took a catch off Pollard’s bowling to dismiss Chris Gayle. He also starred with the bat, scoring 40 from 30 balls and shared an unbroken 45-run stand for the 5th wicket with Pollard to see MI past the target of 136 to win.
Ahead of the 2022 IPL auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will seek to retain their most productive assets. Like Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals, RCB still hoping for their elusive maiden IPL title. After Kohli’s decision not to lead the side in the 2022 season, the challenge will be even more daunting. Through most of […]
After the announcement on Twitter by AB de Villiers that he has decided to quit all cricket, the big question is, who will step into his shoes at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL? For many years, De Villiers has been the batting pillar around which RCB have built their innings. It is virtually impossible […]
AB de Villiers has decided to quit cricket. His decision implies that De Villiers will no longer feature in the IPL for Royal Challengers, the franchise he has continued to represent after retiring from international cricket in 2018. ABD Tweets His Retirement ABD announced his decision on Twitter: “It has been an incredible journey, but […]
IPL auctions have always been kind to Australian players who have usually attracted lucrative bids. The IPL Auction 2022 will be no different and Australian players will be in great demand. Given the past record of Australian players in the IPL, characterised by brilliant innings with the bat and match-winning exploits with the ball, it […]
The mega auction for the IPL 2022 is expected to happen in December 2021. In this article, we look at five players who shone in the T20 World Cup and who are yet to play in the IPL. We believe that these young players can expect to monetise their good performances with attractive contracts in […]
Ravi Shastri and members of his support staff are likely to be signed by the Indian Premier League (IPL)’s new Ahmedabad franchise. Fielding coach R Sridhar and bowling coach Bharat Arun are especially likely to benefit. Shastri Reported to Have Been Approached in Dubai The promoters of the new IPL franchise are reported to have […]