All-rounder Hardik Pandya is targeting a return to international cricket during India’s tour of New Zealand which gets under way in January next year.
The 26-year-old has been out of action since September this year after undergoing a surgery for a back injury. The rehabilitation period for the surgery saw Pandya miss out on the Test and T20I series against Bangladesh as well as the ongoing clashes against Windies.
However, in what will come as a relief for Indian cricket fans, the explosive all-rounder has revealed that he is on track to make a return midway into the New Zealand tour.
“We decided to do the surgery now because we saw the future and thought this is the right time,” Pandya was quoted as saying by IANS (Indo-Asian News Service).
“We thought this was the right time because even if I take four months, I will be coming back before the New Zealand series, mid-way actually.
“That was the plan that I play some international games, the IPL and then the World T20. The biggest concern was the World T20 which touch wood is now in place.”
Pandya has been plagued with back-injury issues ever since he broke down during his bowing run-up in the Asia Cup held in the UAE last year. While he did recover from the injury and went on to play the Indian Premier League and World Cup, the issues resurfaced again in England during the summer.
Pandya is hoping that the drastic step of undergoing a surgery will help him come back stronger and he is taking inspiration from the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Australia’s Pat Cummins.
“I have seen Pat Cummins coming back from injury being stronger than before. I have seen Jasprit Bumrah having a knee surgery and coming back and be what he is right now,” he said.
“I have seen cricketers come back from bad injuries and surgeries and I have spoken to them and learnt that patience is very important. After a knife touches your body, it becomes fragile.
“So, you have to give 200 per cent while making the return.”
India’s tour of New Zealand will begin on January 30 with Virat Kohli’s men slated to play five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests against the Blackcaps.
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