India all-rounder Hardik Pandya did not perform as per expectations in the T20 World Cup in UAE. Post that, he was not included in the Men in Blue's squad for the home series against New Zealand. Other than his form, his fitness has also been a massive concern as the Mumbai Indians star has not been able to bowl regularly in match conditions after undergoing surgery. All of this meant that the team balance was affected to include Hardik in the Playing XI who would then underperform.
And thus it is now being learned that Hardik could even be missing from the Indian squad for the South Africa tour. Reports claim that Hardik has been asked by the BCCI and the selection committee to report to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore to prove his fitness after the break which he has been handed to him after the ICC event.
We will take a call on his inclusion in South Africa tour depending on his fitness: BCCI official
"His recovery from injury will mainly depend on rest. He should be visiting the NCA soon and we will take a call on his inclusion in South Africa tour depending on his fitness," a BCCI official was quoted as saying in an InsideSport report.
"At this moment, he is no way near the required fitness level for Test cricket. He needs time and we don’t want to rush things like was the case before the World Cup. If he is ready, he will be sent for the ODI and T20 series,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Venkatesh Iyer was included in the Indian T20I team for the ongoing home series against New Zealand and while he batted in both matches, he hasn't bowled yet in the series. With India having taken an unassailable lead in the three-match series, Iyer could be given an over or two to prove his mettle with the ball in international cricket.
Moreover, the Rohit Sharma-led side could field other players who have warmed the benches in the two matches so far - the likes of Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal and Avesh Khan. The final T20I is set to commence in a couple of hours' time at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.