Hardik Pandya set to return for Afghanistan T20Is and IPL 2024 after recovering from ankle injury
India all-rounder and Mumbai Indians' new captain, Hardik Pandya, is gearing up for a comeback after overcoming a prolonged ankle injury.
Hardik Pandya is making progress towards participating in the Afghanistan T20Is and the upcoming IPL season. Earlier speculations hinted at his potential absence for several months due to a lingering ankle injury, raising concerns about his availability for the 2024 Indian Premier League. The ankle injury, which occurred during the 2023 ODI World Cup, had led to reports suggesting an extended period of inactivity for Pandya. However, sources now indicate that he has fully recovered and is actively training, positioning him to lead India in the T20I series against Afghanistan starting on January 11 and to participate in the forthcoming IPL season.
Pandya suffered an ankle twist while attempting to field a ball in a league game against Bangladesh, leading to his exclusion from the white-ball segment of the South Africa tour. According to a BCCI source, there is currently no specified timeline for his return, and there has been no official communication regarding his rehabilitation. This lack of clarity echoes the situation during the World Cup when the team management took some time before naming Prasiddh Krishna as his replacement.
Despite the IPL being nearly three months away, a leadership vacuum is emerging for the upcoming T20I series. Suryakumar Yadav, temporarily assumed the role during the home series against Australia and again against South Africa, but with Hardik Pandya nearing recovery, he is expected to the captaincy role in the series against Afghanistan.