Sports News Update: India allrounder Hardik Pandya is targeting an international return during the tour of New Zealand which begins in the last week of January 2020. Pandya, who underwent back surgery in October, indicated that, as per the plan worked out with India’s team management, he is scheduled to join the squad “midway” into the New Zealand series, then feature in the IPL, and then be ready for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October 2020
After hosting Australia for the three ODIs at home in January, India will travel to New Zealand to play five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests. Pandya last played for India during the T20I series against South Africa at home in September. That marked his return to the team following a period of rest after the World Cup in England, with the team management wanting him to focus on his strength training. Pandya, however, complained of back trouble during the South Africa series, according to the BCCI, and this eventually culminated in his undergoing surgery.
On Monday, speaking to a small group of mediapersons over conference call, Pandya pointed out why he and the team management felt delaying the surgery was not an option. “We decided to do the surgery now because we saw the future and thought this is the right time,” IANS quoted Pandya as saying. “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.”
Incidentally, Pandya said he had been carrying the injury, and “managing” it, for five years. But he realised that the back pain was hampering his performance. “I could have done the surgery a month later, but it would not have helped me in any way,” he said. “I was feeling the difference in my back and wasn’t able to take it.
“I was managing the back, tried everything possible not to get into surgery or anything. After trying everything, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t working. I noticed that I was not able to give my 100 per cent and that meant I was not doing justice to myself and the team. That is when I decided to go for the surgery.”