Hardik Pandya ruled out of New Zealand Test series

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya will continue his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, according to a BCCI release.

Hardik Pandya hasn't regained full match fitness after his lower back surgery.   -  GETTY IMAGES

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the two-match Test series against New Zealand later this month, a BCCI press release confirmed.

He will continue his rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Pandya underwent a successful surgery in October last year to remedy an acute lower-back injury and has remained out of action since.

According to the BCCI press release, Pandya "travelled to London and was accompanied by NCA Head Physio Ashish Kaushik for a review by spinal surgeon Dr. James Allibone."

It further added: "Hardik will be under rehab at the National Cricket Academy until he regains full match fitness."

The news comes as a setback for Pandya, who had been optimistic about making his international return during the New Zealand tour. However, he first needed to get a clearance on his fitness.

Earlier, Hardik was included by the selectors as part of the India A squad for two 50-over matches. However, Vijay Shankar was subsequently named as his replacement, adding further intrigue surrounding his return.

The recovery from the back surgery was difficult, and Hardik had exchanged messages with captain Virat Kohli, saying no one should undergo a similar experience. "I was emotionally challenging. From lifting 100 kgs I was not able to lift my legs," Hardik told India Today in an interview.

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