What's the story?
A fit-again Hardik Pandya is all set to make his much-awaited comeback during the DY Patil T20 tournament which begins today (Monday) at Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium.
The talented Indian all-rounder who was last seen in action during India's home T20I series against South Africa in September 2019 underwent surgery in October last year due to a back problem. Though he was seen bowling at the nets ahead of India’s ODI series against Australia last month, the 26-year-old who was expected to return to the field at least for the two Tests against the Kiwis, but he eventually pulled out of India A’s ODI squad for the series against New Zealand A.
While Pandya was undergoing training at National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, who issued a statement regarding the all-rounder's fitness, said he is ‘not even fit to play a domestic game’ currently.
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The heart of the matter
Though the expectations were that Pandya would return to action during IPL 2020, there is some good news for Indian cricket fans ahead of the Men in Blue's ODI series against the Proteas next month. It has been learnt that a fully-fit Hardik Pandya will turn out for the Reliance 1 side in the DY Patil T20 Tournament which begins on February 24th. Pandya's team will be playing three league matches followed by three knockout games. Confirming the all-rounder's participation, a top source told Times of India:
"Yes, his name is there in the team list for Reliance1. He will play in the DY Patil T20, provided the National Cricket Academy (NCA, in Bengaluru where he is currently recuperating from his injury) releases him"
Team India has certainly missed the versatile Pandya across formats in the past five months and with the national selectors likely to visit Navi Mumbai to track his progress since returning from injury, it remains to be seen whether the Mumbai Indians star would make the cut for the three-match ODI series against Quinton de Kock's men beginning on March 12th at Dharamsala.