Hardik Pandya is not fit to play the next two crucial matches

PUNE, INDIA - OCTOBER 19: Hardik Pandya of India reacts in their follow through after bowling during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 between India and Bangladesh at MCA International Stadium on October 19, 2023 in Pune, India. (Photo by Matt Roberts-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Hardik Pandya recovering from an ankle injury sustained during the round-robin phase of the ICC World Cup 2023, is expected to miss India’s vital matches against Sri Lanka on November 2 and South Africa on November 5. With six wins in their first six games, hosts India are on the verge of being the first team to reach the ICC World Cup semi-finals.

Pandya’s absence made the team management retain Mohammed Shami and Suryakumar Yadav in their playing XI against England. Both the players used the given opportunity to good effect. Suryakumar played a crucial knock of 49 while pacer Shami bagged four wickets to seal India’s win over defending champions. According to reports, Pandya suffered a slight tear, but the top all-rounder is expected to be eligible for selection soon.

Reports suggest that the all-rounder may be able to return to the Indian playing XI for the last round-robin match against the Netherlands. It is a minor tear. He is recovering well and is likely to return for the last league game. There is also a possibility that he straight away play in the semifinal, a source from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has revealed.

The medical team is looking at that and is very much in touch with Hardik and the NCA (National Cricket Academy) as well. We’re hoping to get an update in a couple of days, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said. Shreyas Iyer, who is struggling to score runs might be dropped when Pandya returns to the squad.

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