India all-rounder Hardik Pandya out of Australia home series as back trouble returns

Ajit Vijaykumar 19:30 21/02/2019
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Hardik Pandya.

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the limited-overs home series against Australia due to lower back stiffness, raising questions about the injury management of the team.

Left-arm spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been named as his replacement for the five-match ODI series which starts next month while the Indians will go in with a 14-member squad for two Twenty20 matches which begin in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.

“The BCCI medical team decided to rest Mr. Pandya and let him undergo strength and conditioning work for his lower back at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru,” it said. “Mr. Pandya will begin his strength work from next week.”

Pandya had returned from a serious back injury sustained during the Asia Cup in UAE in September after playing just one domestic first-class match in December.

Around the same time, he found himself in the eye of the storm following a controversial appearance on a TV show where he bragged about his encounters with women.

Pandya, along with KL Rahul who appeared on that show, were asked to leave the Australia tour that they were part of. But the Indian team management decided to call Pandya back into the squad for the limited overs tour of New Zealand the moment he played his first first-class match.

Pandya is crucial for India’s chances at the 2019 World Cup but the haste shown in his return might end up costing India. Last year, poor injury management saw India lose the services of their most potent weapon – Bhuvneshwar Kumar – for the England Test series after the seamer picked up a serious back injury during the IPL.

According to the Hindustan Times, Pandya has been asked to strengthen his core to manage his workload.

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