India vs Australia 2019: Hardik Pandya ruled out of T20I and ODI series
All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of India's upcoming T20I and ODI series against Australia. According to the BCCI, the 25-year-old is suffering from 'lower back stiffness'.
While the selectors have decided against naming a replacement for the two T20Is, they have drafted in spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to replace Pandya for the five-match ODI series against the visiting Australian team.
Pandya had initially picked up the back injury during the 2018 Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates. He had to be stretchered off the field in the middle of India's group match against Pakistan in Dubai.
After missing the subsequent series against West Indies at home, Pandya returned to action during a first-class match for Baroda against Mumbai in December.
Pandya was drafted into the Test squad for the last two matches of the series in Australia. However, he was not part of the playing eleven at either Melbourne or Sydney. He had to return home, along with fellow teammate KL Rahul, ahead of the ODI series as a result of the fallout generated from the duo's comments on a television show.
Upon serving a suspension, Pandya returned to national colours during the ODI series in New Zealand. He played three ODIs as well as three T20Is against the Blackcaps.
Pandya's injury means Vijay Shankar will be India's sole seam bowling all-rounder for the upcoming matches against Australia. While no replacement has been named for the two T20Is, Jadeja has been called-up to the squad for the ODIs. The five-match 50-over series presents an opportunity for the left-arm spinner to push his case forward ahead of the World Cup.
The first T20I between India and Australia will take place on February 24 in Visakhapatnam. The second match is slated to be held on the 27th in Bengaluru.
The ODI series will begin on March 2 in Hyderabad. Nagpur and Ranchi will host the second and third ODIs respectively on the 5th and 8th. The penultimate ODI is set to take place on the 10th at Chandigarh. The series comes to a close at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on the 13th.
The home series against Australia will be India's last assignment before the 2019 World Cup. The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League is set to begin on March 23 and is expected to continue till May.