Star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is recovering from an ankle injury, is unlikely to return to action before the team’s World Cup match against the Netherlands on November 12.
Pandya had hurt his left ankle while fielding on his own bowling in the game against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19. He missed the games against New Zealand and England and is also set to miss the fixtures against Sri Lanka on Thursday and South Africa on November 5. India’s final league match is against Netherlands in Bengaluru on November 12.
”It is a minor tear. He is recovering well and is likely to return for the last league game. There is also a possibility that he straight away plays the semifinal,” said a BCCI source.
With six wins in as many games, India are set to qualify for the semifinals. To compensate for Pandya’s all-round abilities, the team was forced to make two changes to the playing eleven. In his absence, the management is playing with five bowlers with Suryakumar Yadav batting at six in his place.
With Mohammad Shami in sizzling form, the management has not missed Pandya the bowler but he remains critical to the team’s balance.
After win over England, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey had expressed confidence over Pandya’s imminent return. Pandya was recovering at National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. ”The medical team is looking at that and are very much in touch with Hardik and the NCA (National Cricket Academy) as well. We’re hoping to get an update in a couple of days,” Mhambrey had said on Sunday. As per a BCCI media release, Pandya was supposed to join the team in Lucknow ahead of the England game but he was not with the squad.