The BCCI has introduced an exclusive 18-week high-performance plan for Hardik Pandya, meticulously crafted by the NCA to monitor his body’s responses to varied training methodologies.

Following a ‘freak injury’ during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 fixture against Bangladesh on October 19, Hardik Pandya’s tournament abruptly ended. Despite the team’s patience and hope for his return, Hardik’s injury kept him out of the final against Australia, a moment he deeply regretted missing.

READ MORE | Hardik Pandya’s Absence Looms Over India’s Matches Against Australia, South Africa

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the National Cricket Academy (NCA), focusing on the broader perspective, especially the crucial T20 World Cup cycles in 2024 (West Indies & US) and 2026 (India), decided not to rush his comeback.

Although Hardik could have been available for selection in upcoming bilateral fixtures against South Africa and Afghanistan, the cricket board prioritized his long-term fitness.

“We speak of workload management. This is precisely what it is all about. Is there a doubt on his ability as a T20 cricketer? No. What we rather need is setting long-term goals and ensuring endurance levels remain up to the mark,” said a source close to the developments.

“First let’s be clear. Pandya’s earlier injury (back) was completely different from the freak injury or say ‘accident’ he suffered during the Bangladesh game in Pune. There is no relation between the two and it would be unfair to say he wasn’t in top shape for the World Cup or to suggest that he is injury prone. He made a successful comeback from the back injury, has been in superb shape and it was just an unfortunate incident,” the source added.

Reportedly, the NCA has crafted an 18-week tailored high-performance program specifically for Pandya, covering daily routines till March. This routine, involving cardio, strength and functional training, and recovery, aims to gauge his body’s response. This individualized regimen mirrors past practices applied for players like Bumrah, Iyer, and Rahul during their injury recoveries.

Such programs address long-term goals by considering various aspects like specific skills, climate conditions, and gradual reintegration into competitive cricket, ensuring players are primed for upcoming assignments. For instance, KL Rahul’s program accounted for wicket-keeping demands and subcontinent conditions, while Bumrah’s re-entry involved gradual matches like Ireland T20Is before full-scale participation in the Asia Cup.

Hardik, post his 2019 back surgery, remained consistent with minimal cricket breaks, leading Gujarat Titans in IPL and participating in various T20Is without major injury concerns. He has been a constant presence, featuring in 38 out of 55 T20Is and 23 out of 50 ODIs for India since June 2022.



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Last Updated on December 5, 2023

Senior Sports Copywriter