Hardik Pandya makes impressive comeback to competitive cricket in DY Patil T20 Cup

Hardik Pandya makes impressive comeback to competitive cricket in DY Patil T20 Cup

All eyes are now on whether Hardik makes a return to the international set-up.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ace India all-rounder Hardik Pandya finally made a return to cricket on Friday when he took the field for Reliance 1 in the DY Patil T20 Cup against Bank of Baroda. The 26-year-old, who has not played the game since September last year because of injury and missed the chance of playing in India’s ongoing tour of New Zealand, impressed with the bat in the game by smashing 38 off 25 balls. Along with the Baroda all-rounder, other national players Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also played in the match.

Hardik was expected to be picked for the Indian side for the later leg of the New Zealand tour after he recovered from surgery in the UK last October. He was supposed to play for India ‘A’ against New Zealand ‘A’ first before making it to the national team but he pulled out of the tour since he was not yet in shape.

Hardik Pandya came out at No.4 to give his team stability

Hardik came out to bat at No.4 in the T20 game and played the knock that included one four and four sixes. He came to the crease when Reliance 1 were 38 for 2, having lost Dhawan (14) and Vishnu Solanki (5). Hardik then stabilized the innings with Saurabh Tiwary (41) by adding 53 runs for the third wicket.

Hardik started off slowly by scoring seven runs off the first 12 balls but then accelerated. He was particularly brutal against spinner Varun Sood who he belted for four sixes before getting caught at the long-on area. Hardik later picked three wickets with the ball.

The Indian team management will be hoping to see a quick return of Hardik to bolster the performance. Hardik’s franchise in the Indian Premier League — Mumbai Indians — are also closely watching his progress as the tournament is set to begin in another month’s time.

India will play South Africa in three ODIs after returning from New Zealand where their second Test with the Kiwis begins on Saturday. All eyes are now on whether Hardik makes a return to the international set-up.

The all-rounder has been plagued by injuries for quite some time now. In 2018 also, he was ruled out during the Asia Cup in the UAE and took a while to return to competitive cricket.

Watch: Hardik Pandya’s performance here