While the Indian team is all set to lock horns with South Africa for the third and final Test of the series, all-rounder Hardik Pandya was spotted spending time in the nets ahead of the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The out-of-favor Baroda cricketer has had his fair share of injuries over the past two years, keeping him away from bowling duties in Indian colours.
Hardik managed to bowl just four overs during India’s lacklustre campaign in the T20 World Cup 2021. He also didn’t bowl a single delivery for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL 2021.
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In the video shared on his social media, the flamboyant Baroda all-rounder could be seen honing his batting skills in a net session. “Step by step. Putting in the hard yards,” he captioned the clip.
Hardik hasn’t rolled his arms on a regular basis since his lower back surgery, making it tough for him to cement his place in the Indian side as a fourth seamer. His Test future also looks bleak at the moment, especially after the rise of bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur who picked seven wickets against South Africa last week at Johannesburg.
While the five-time IPL champions haven’t retained the 26-year-old Hardik for the next season, he is likely to fetch a huge bid for the upcoming mega-auction. He is reportedly going to shift his base to the CVC-owned Ahmedabad franchise for its maiden outing in the next IPL season.
Two new franchises — Ahmedabad and Lucknow — have the right to choose three players (two Indian and one foreigner) from the pool of available players as part of the draft pick before the mega auction.
“Hardik with his local connect and being a proven IPL performer for Mumbai Indians for so long was an obvious choice as captain and premier player,” a source told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
“The franchise has almost finalised its deal with Afghan spin sensation Rashid Khan and dashing keeper-batter Ishan Kishan as their second and third picks from the draft. As of now, that’s what is finalised unless there are changes at the last moment.