India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been a victim of injuries that have severely hampered his bowling abilities of late. He struggled to bowl in India's recent tour of Sri Lanka and even lost his spot in the Test squad as a result of the injury that devoids him the chance of bowling long spells.
The all-rounder's back issues began during his last assignment in the longest format of the game. After complaining of the problem, the injury woes came back to strike again during the 2018 Asia Cup as well. The lingering issue forced him to undergo surgery on his back in 2019. However, the injury has continued to persist.
Hardik Pandya has almost always played as a pure batsman for both club and country since 2019. He did not bowl a single delivery in Mumbai Indians' successful IPL campaign in the UAE last year. Pandya slowly returned to bowling during England's tour of India, but then did not bowl in the recurring 2021 IPL.
Former Sri Lanka first-class cricketer Anusha Samaranayake analyzed Pandya's bowling action and revealed that he needs to make changes otherwise the issues will continue to bother. The National Coaching Department coach elaborated:
“I know the root cause of Pandya's back injury and it is preventable, if dealt with properly. It is very common to have back injuries on 'side on' fast blowers because they tend to close their hips at the take off point. As a result of this, they tend to have a shift, at take-off to back foot landing. Because of this issue, they cannot jump straight but are more likely to jump away while bowling.”
“This shift affects the back of these side on fast bowlers because they get side on after landing the back leg. Due to this continuous strain on the back, they tend to get back injuries.”
Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Siraj are susceptible to back injuries: Anusha Samaranayake
The former Sri Lankan first-class cricketer added that bowlers like Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Siraj will have to open their hips right before jumping to get sideways while they are airborne. This, as a result, will avoid continuous strain on the back. He explained:
“If he and Siraj can open the hip before jumping (at the bowling stride), there is a good chance for them to get sideways while they are airborne. This is a technical point related to biomechanics. Indian fast bowlers like Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Siraj do have this issue and as a result, they are more susceptible to back injuries.”
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A former Mumbai Indians teammate of Hardik Pandya had reportedly asked Samaranayake to speak with the Indian contingent during their recent tour of Sri Lanka. However, Samaranayake could not deliver the advice straight to Pandya due to the bio-bubble protocols.