IPL 2020: Zaheer Khan warns Hardik Pandya about rushing into bowling
Hardik Pandya has returned to playing cricket after being out of action for months. Being an all-rounder, he bowls medium-fast. He has been playing for Mumbai Indians since 2015 and has been a part of three title-winning campaigns. He is married to Natasa Stankovic.
Fans are delighted to have Hardik Pandya back in action after a long-time injury, as he is well-known for his hard-hitting abilities. However, Mumbai Indians' (MI) Director of Cricket Operations, Zaheer Khan, has warned him not to rush in for bowling right away.
Pandya has had issues with his lower back, while he underwent back surgery in the United Kingdom (UK), in 2019. Since then, he has made his much-awaited comeback to the sport, as he is representing MI in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pandya has played both the games for the side this season, where he did not bowl as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, Zaheer has not yet asserted as to when the all-rounder can get back to bowling.
"We're all expecting him to bowl and he's someone who really changes the balance of any side when he's bowling and understands that. But, we have to listen to his body and that's a conversation we've been having in consultation with the physios," said Zaheer during an MI press meet.
"We're looking forward to him to bowl, he's very keen and really wanting to bowl. We just have to wait and be patient and listen to his body. At the end of the day, any bowler's injury plays a huge role. We're happy he's there as a batter and with full fitness contribution, so that's the exciting part. Hopefully, you'll see him bowl soon," he added.
Pandya has had a glorious career in the IPL, having scored 1,100 runs in 63 innings at an average of 28.21, including three half-centuries. As for his bowling, he has claimed 42 wickets at an economy of 9.07, with his best figures being 3/20.
Meanwhile, MI head-coach, Mahela Jayawardene, has also said that they would gradually build him up for bowling. "[It's a] day-by-day progress, we don't want to take a risk. He came back from the operation. He looks healthy now, so we'll gradually build him up. We'll see when he's comfortable and then take a call," he quoted to Star Sports.