Hardik Pandya emerged onto the scene after his consistent performances for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. The younger of the Pandya brothers represented a rare breed of Indian cricketers who could bat as well as provide a seaming option to the captain. Hardik was thus seen as that perfect pace bowling all-rounder that the Indian team has been looking for for ages.
Hardik debuted for India on 27th January 2016 against Australia just before the T20 World Cup. Pandya on his debut picked up 2 key wickets and helped India win the game. Later on, Pandya was involved in the heroics of the Asia Cup where India pulled a heist against Bangladesh. Since then Hardik has played a crucial role in the Indian team. He was an integral part of the Indian side irrespective of the formats before injury threatened his career.
Hardik Pandya started to have some back niggles since the Test series in England (2018) Initially it was termed as a back spasm and Hardik continued with his cricket. The matter got serious when during an Asia Cup game in 2018, Hardik Pandya had to stretch off the field on a stretcher after falling awkwardly on his back while bowling. Hardik Pandya was reported to have a back muscle problem and was ruled out of action for 3 months straight.
Later during a media interaction, Shoaib Akhtar revealed that he had told Hardik that he could get injured. As per his own admission, Akhtar had warned Hardik about his lean body type, especially his lower back muscle. He had then told Hardik to work on his fitness otherwise he can get injured. A similar injury paused Hardik’s progress as an all-rounder.