India’s premier seam-bowling all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, continues to face setbacks on the cricket field due to a persistent left ankle injury sustained during a crucial ODI World Cup 2023 game against Bangladesh. Hardik, known for his dynamic performances, has a history of injuries that has hindered his participation in key matches over the years.
Since the conclusion of the 2022 T20I World Cup, regular captain Rohit Sharma has refrained from participating in the shortest format of the game for the ‘Men in Blue.’ In Rohit’s absence, Hardik assumed the leadership role in T20Is, but unfortunately, he couldn’t recover in time for India’s recent T20I assignments against Australia and South Africa.
Recent reports paint a gloomy picture for Hardik’s return to the cricketing arena, suggesting a prolonged delay. The 30-year-old all-rounder is likely to miss the upcoming home T20I series against Afghanistan in January and also the forthcoming IPL season.
A BCCI source emphasized the uncertainty surrounding Hardik’s fitness status, stating, “There is no update on Hardik’s fitness status as of now, and one can say there remains a big question mark on him being available before the end of IPL.”
This development poses a significant setback not only for the Indian cricket team but also for the Mumbai Indians, the five-time IPL champions. In a strategic move, the Mumbai Indians had acquired Hardik from Gujarat Titans ahead of the IPL 2024 auction, appointing him as the captain, succeeding the legendary Rohit Sharma.
However, the captaincy change might face challenges with Hardik’s prolonged absence from the playing field.
Earlier reports indicated that Hardik would undergo a specially-curated rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Despite these efforts, the uncertainty surrounding his return remains, casting a shadow over his availability for the much-anticipated IPL season.