Hardik Pandya shines with bat and ball in DY Patil T20 Cup

The all-rounder dazzles in his first competitive game following a back surgery.

Hardik Pandya last played for India in September, 2019.   -  AP

Hardik Pandya hit four towering sixes and ran swiftly between the wickets at the DY Patil T20 Cup even as chief selector M. S. K. Prasad closely monitored the all-rounder’s fitness level in his first game following a back surgery.

The support staff of his IPL team Mumbai Indians was also present.

Hardik took three wickets and scored 38 to help Reliance 1 win by 25 runs. Also monitoring the fitness progress of Pandya was India A and U-19 coach Paras Mhambrey at the DY Patil Stadium here.

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Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who sustained a shoulder injury during the series against Australia, and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who underwent a surgery for sports hernia, played for Reliance 1 in the contest against Bank of Baroda. This was also the first game for Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar after their injuries.

Hardik last played for India on September 22, 2019, in a T20 game against South Africa.

‘In good shape’

The 26-year-old Hardik suffered an acute lower back injury five months ago and underwent a surgery in London, following which he has been undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Bhuvneshwar did not look in pain even as a slew of former cricketers including Pravin Amre, Kiran More, Zaheer Khan, T. A. Sekar and Robin Singh (all associated with Mumbai Indians) monitored their fitness.

Outgoing chief selector Prasad seemed pleased with the progress and said, “All three looked in good shape and it was good to see Hardik steaming in.”

Former India pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Abey Kuruvilla and a couple of senior officials from the National Cricket Academy were also in attendance.

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