Hardik targets comeback during New Zealand tour in January
Mumbai, India - India allrounder Hardik Pandya is targeting an international return during the tour of New Zealand, which begins in the last week of January 2020.
Pandya, who underwent back surgery in October, indicated that, as per the plan worked out with India's team management, he is scheduled to join the squad 'midway' into the New Zealand series, then feature in the IPL, and then be ready for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October 2020
After hosting Australia for the three ODIs at home in January, India will travel to New Zealand to play five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests. Pandya last played for India during the T20I series against South Africa at home in September.
That marked his return to the team following a period of rest after the World Cup in England, with the team management wanting him to focus on his strength training. Pandya, however, complained of back trouble during the South Africa series, according to the BCCI, and this eventually culminated in his undergoing surgery.
Incidentally, Pandya said he had been carrying the injury, and 'managing' it, for five years. But he realised that the back pain was hampering his performance.
"I could have done the surgery a month later, but it would not have helped me in any way," he said. "I was feeling the difference in my back and wasn't able to take it.”
Pandya said the long period of rehabilitation has been difficult for him, mentally. "It might sound cool, but it is not easy to keep coming back as you need motivation. Yes, we all have motivation, but you need to be sure that you do not go down the wrong path.
“You don't question yourself and why is it happening to you. I try and back myself and stay positive. I have understood that every comeback gives me an edge and makes me stronger. I want people to say I learnt something when I was away due to injury. Physically I can always come back, but mentally it is important to stay healthy."