Hardik Pandya should not rush his comeback, says Zaheer Khan

An injured Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the New Zealand Test series and former pacer Zaheer Khan feels the all-rounder should take his time to come back.

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan interacts with young cricketers during the opening of MI Junior programme in Mumbai on Monday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan has a word of advice for all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been left out from India’s Test squad for the two-match series against New Zealand.

"He should take time to come back, 120 per cent. When anyone goes through injuries, it's not about coming back. It's about how you come back. You have to be patient through that process, and listen to the team, which is around you in terms of support staff,” Zaheer, Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket, said on the sideline of MI Junior grassroots cricketing programme.

“It's frustrating at times when you're away from the game, but it's very important to stay patient and do the right things, and just control the things which are in your control. It’s about listening to your body, getting 100 per cent and making it sure that you've ticked all the boxes,” he added.

If Hardik is out of action, an injury has even ruled out Ishant Sharma out of the Test series against New Zealand.

Zaheer, however, is excited with the pool of talents, who have ensured that Ishant or Hardik’s absence is not felt much.

“It’s about putting up a team there together and that's the strength right now this Indian team has. The strength of any squad is seen with the bench strength as well. We are in a better position at the moment, where we have great talent of players, which is excellent. The roles are shared by different people,” he said.

On Sunday, India crushed New Zealand to clinch the five-match T20I series 5-0, and Zaheer feels the home side will now find it difficult in the upcoming ODI and Test series as well.

“I am expecting things to get better. New Zealand was having a really tough time and they have tried to find the answers to beat this Indian team but 5-0 victory is a huge achievement,” he said.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough series for New Zealand. For India, it's about maintaining that momentum and carrying the confidence of the series win,” the former pace ace said.

The three-match ODI series will begin in Hamilton on Wednesday.

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