Hardik Pandya likely to return for South Africa ODIs

Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have made strong comebacks in the DY Patil T20 tournament, after being sidelined by injuries earlier.

Hardik Pandya has scored a heap of runs in the ongoing D Y Patil T20 tournament.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Sunil Joshi’s first meeting as the selection committee chairman is likely to be more of an injury update as the selectors take stock of three sidelined players who have made a strong comeback this week during an invitational T20 tournament in Navi Mumbai.

Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have all represented Reliance 1 in the DY Patil T20 tournament, which has emerged as a star-studded prelude to the Indian Premier League over the last decade. With the troika having recovered from their respective injuries, all three are set to be recalled into India’s ODI squad for the three-match series against South Africa, starting March 12.

READ| Hardik Pandya hammers 55-ball 158 in DY Patil T20 Cup

While Dhawan, after missing the New Zealand tour due to a shoulder injury, and Bhuvneshwar, having recovered from hernia surgery, have been steadily getting back into stride, Hardik has had a remarkable comeback. After scoring a 39-ball 101 and picking five wickets in a match earlier in the week, the swashbuckling allrounder blasted a 58-ball 158 (6x4, 20x6) against Shreyas Iyer-led Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited on Friday.

The allrounder’s return after undergoing a back operation last year had been prolonged, with Pandya being pulled out of India and India A’s recent tours to New Zealand. It will be interesting to see if Joshi & Co. decide to test Pandya’s fitness in the 50-over format ahead of the rigours of IPL.

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