Concerns mount over fitness of Hardik Pandya yet again

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Former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull has raised concerns about Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s fitness during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season, suggesting that Pandya may be concealing an injury.

Hardik Pandya, who now captains the Mumbai Indians, began the IPL 2024 season by opening the bowling in the first two matches. However, his subsequent absence from the bowling lineup in the next two games and a brief, less effective appearance against Royal Challengers Bengaluru have fueled speculation. During this last match, Pandya bowled just one over, conceding 13 runs, and did not bowl again. “You go out and make a statement by opening the bowling in game no. 1, and suddenly, you are not required. He’s injured. I’m telling you there is something wrong with him. He is not admitting it. But there is something wrong with him for sure. That is my gut feeling,” commented Doull on Cricbuzz.

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When questioned about his decision not to bowl during the match against the Delhi Capitals, Pandya reassured fans and commentators alike, stating, “All good, will be bowling at the right time. Had it covered, so didn’t need to roll my arm over.” This statement came despite the noticeable decrease in his bowling activity, which contrasts sharply with his usual role on the team.

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Pandya had been sidelined with an ankle injury incurred during a 2023 Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh, only returning to play a few matches before the start of IPL 2024. With the T20 World Cup 2024 approaching, concerns about his fitness could have significant implications for both his IPL performance and his availability for the national team.

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Adding to the drama of the season, Pandya also took over as captain of the Mumbai Indians from Rohit Sharma, a change that has not been universally welcomed by fans. This leadership shift led to some negative reactions from the crowd during matches, prompting Virat Kohli to intervene and encourage support for Pandya during the recent match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

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