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India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup stage set for Hardik Pandya: Injury overcome, challenge awaits

India captain Rohit Sharma worries about picking a strong-playing XI for Sunday’s 2022 Asian Cup opener against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The talented cricketers he has on hand pile up to the point that the decision feels like a burden.

The all-rounder comes full circle by meeting the same opponents he faced in the final Asian Cup match in Dubai in 2018. He lay motionless, clutching his back during Pakistan’s follow-through in the 18th inning over. Pandia had by that point he had 24 runs and he had bowled 4.5 overs.

“Hardik had complained of back problems during his IPL last year that required medical attention and intervention. A plan was devised to bowl according to how the body was reacting to the load,” said Nick Webb. , India’s former strength and conditioning coach, told Sportster.

The Indian think tank wanted Pandya to contribute 2-3 overs to the match with minimal symptoms. However, in his five games at the 2021 T20 World Cup, Hardik allowed 40 runs while he pitched only four overs. Compare this to 2022. Pandya scored 13 in his T20I where he bowled 28 overs and at an economy rate of 8.53 he took 8 wickets.

“There was pressure on the backroom staff to bowl at Hardyk, but we had to block out the noise, do our best at Hardyk, and create a practical plan considering time constraints. did.

“His assessment and subsequent plans were communicated to and agreed with the coaches for clarity. Hardik understood and agreed with the short-term and long-term plans,” adds Webb.

The result of Pandya’s commitment to the long-term plan was something to behold. In his May of this year, Gujarat made a spectacular all-rounder when his Titans beat Rajasthan his Royals by seven wickets and won his Premier League debut in the Indians of the season. produced his display. The Titans captain his Pandia, including an informal Joss butler wicket he went 17-3 to limit the Royals to 130-9, hitting 34-of-30 pitches.

Hardik is back with the ball in top form this year, taking 8 wickets in 13 T20Is. | | Photo credit: Daniel LEAL

Webb also explains why Hardik didn’t bowl as much at last year’s World Cup. “The T20 World Cup was not the right time to focus on increasing his strength. It was about optimizing what he currently possessed. Afterwards, I voluntarily took a break to focus on developing and building my body…and keeping it in mind with the intention of contributing consistently as a bowler in the future. In order for his body to withstand bowling in the future, he needed to become stronger and build muscle in certain areas.”

Elite sports are unforgiving and injuries are tough times for any athlete. But it’s also a great opportunity to learn and upgrade your body and mind, which you can’t do during the busy season. “When Hardik got injured, I think he had a frustrating day, but Hardik is an incredibly motivated, focused and hardworking world-class athlete,” he said. says. “With hard work and a solid plan, I have no doubt that he will bowl again. Team India and the NCA have the smartest people to support Hardik to get to the point he has reached so far. I wouldn’t be surprised, he’s had a successful 2022 so far.”

For Pandia, it will become clear in the next two weeks whether this upturn will be more than a continental title in Dubai. He was always considered better this way. Now he’s in charge and carrying the team’s hopes not only for the Asian Cup, but also for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

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