IPL 2022: Hardik Pandya allays injury concerns after cramps force him out of match

Cricket

Rashid Khan, Pandya’s team-mates, who took over captaincy in the last two-and-a-half overs, concurred at the post-match press conference. “Hardik suffered a cramp. It’s not serious. Nothing to be worried about,” he said.

Shared News: April 15, 2022 11:39:19 am

Hardik Pandya of Gujrat Titans plays a shot. (IPL|PTI)
Towards the end of the match between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, Hardik Pandya stopped in his bowling run-up and left the field. There was a feeling of déjà vu, as Vijay Shankar completed his over.

On initial viewing it seemed to be an issue at the groin, as Pandya sat in the dug-out and consulted the team physio. He didn’t look too concerned. Later, at the post-match presentation, the Titans captain allayed any fear, saying: “It was just cramps. Nothing serious.”

Rashid Khan, Pandya’s team-mates, who took over captaincy in the last two-and-a-half overs, concurred at the post-match press conference. “Hardik suffered a cramp. It’s not serious. Nothing to be worried about,” he said.

Pandya’s body has not been his best friend. It has broken down many times in the last few years, forcing the player to frequent the treatment room. India paid the price for taking a half-fit Pandya to the T20 World Cup last year and the selectors and the team management eventually learnt from their mistakes. As the new season began, the message from chief selector Chetan Sharma was quite clear, that the allrounder wouldn’t be considered for India selection unless he was bowling-fit as well. In the limited-overs internationals ahead of the IPL, Venkatesh Iyer was used as a batting allrounder, while Pandya did his rehab at the National Cricket Academy.

Pandya is trying to make a statement in this season of the IPL. He is batting long, bowling his full quota of overs and making an impact. Against the Royals, he was the man-of-the-match for his 52-ball 87 not out and 1/18 in 2.3 overs. He resurrected Titans’ innings from 53/3 and took them to a match-winning total. Batting long in hot and humid conditions took its toll. “A lot of hard work for me tonight. I’m not used to batting this long. It gives me a lot of time. I can calculate and take risks,” he said post-match.

Going by Rashid’s comment at the presser, Pandya has won over the dressing room. “He (Pandya) is leading from the front. As captain, he isn’t afraid of taking bold decisions,” said the leg-spinner.

The Titans and Indian cricket would hope for an injury-free IPL for Pandya, with another T20 World Cup to be played six months down the line. Fingers crossed.