India’s hard-hitting all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s return to cricket after recovering from back injury has been further delayed as he failed mandatory fitness tests in Mumbai on Saturday. Pandya was earlier included in India A’s tour of New Zealand for three List A games starting January 22.
The selectors included him in the squad directly instead of playing him for Baroda in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2019-20. The mandatory fitness tests Pandya failed does not include Yo-Yo test. The 26-year-old ‘s fitness levels were far below the permissible limit for international cricket which led to him getting dropped from the Shubman Gill-led India A squad.
Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar has been named as Pandya’s replacement in India A squad. Shankar will also be featuring in the two warm-up games before the three limited-overs fixtures.
The Mumbai Indians all-rounder had undergone successful surgery to treat his lower back in October 2019 in London.
First, Hardik got injured during the Asia Cup 2018 but recovered and made a comeback to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, followed by World Cup 2019. Then, the injury resurfaced during the T20I series against South Africa.
His last international game was against South Africa on September 22, 2019. He has been out of the action since the Bengaluru T20I.