India all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s back has been the cynosure of all eyes ever since he underwent surgery in the UK in October. While there has been a slight delay in him gaining full fitness, the good news is that he has started bowling at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru after returning from a check-up in the UK.
Speaking to IANS, an NCA source in the know of developments said that Pandya has started working on his bowling at the academy and should be available for selection soon.
“He is back from the UK after a routine check-up and has also started bowling from this week. He should be available for selection soon. Can look at him with an eye on the South Africa series as you still have a month to go for the first ODI against the Proteas in Dharamsala,” the source said.
Commenting on the trip he made to the UK to get checked by spinal surgeon James Allibone, the source said: “It was a routine check and there wasn’t anything more to it.”
Both Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah had earlier hired the services of Delhi Capitals trainer Rajnikanth Sivagnanam to undergo rehab post their injuries. While Yogesh Parmar kept an eye on Pandya’s progress post his back surgery, Nitin Patel studied every process that Bumrah followed during his rehab after the stress fracture the pacer had suffered on his back.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly made it clear that all players must report to the NCA to undergo rehab.
“I met Rahul Dravid yesterday, and we have put a system in place. The bowlers will have to go to the NCA. If anybody (else) has to treat them, they will have to come to NCA,” Ganguly had said.
“Whatever may be the reason, we will accommodate everything. We will also make sure the players are comfortable and they don’t feel left out or out of place. So, we will do it that way. We are going full throttle with the NCA. Construction work will start (at the new land) and it will be a state-of-the-art unit. In 18 months’ time, if we are still there, you will see an NCA that will be spick and span.”
In fact, the team management convinced Pandya to head to the NCA when he trained with them at the Wankhede Stadium. “The team management spoke to him when he trained with Virat Kohli and boys on the eve of the opening ODI against Australia at the Wankhede Stadium and asked him to complete his rehab at the NCA,” a source said.