Hardik Pandya could be fit ahead of India-Afghanistan T20I series in January, says Jay Shah

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Hardik Pandya could be fit ahead of India-Afghanistan T20I series in January, says Jay Shah

Hardik Pandya suffered the ankle injury against Bangladesh in the ODI World Cup on 19 October. AP

Mumbai: Injured India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is undergoing intense rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy and could be fit for next month’s T20 series against Afghanistan, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on Saturday. Hardik had torn ligament of his left ankle while trying to stop a powerful hit off his own bowling during a World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune, ruling him out of the remainder of the tournament.

Also read: Hardik Pandya undergoing 18-week high-performance programme with long-term vision

“We are monitoring it on a day-to-day basis. He is at NCA only, he is working very hard and we will let you know in the due course the moment he is fit. He could be fit before the Afghanistan series also,” Shah told reporters on the sidelines of the WPL auction in Mumbai.

While Pandya has been a regular T20 skipper since 2022 T20 World Cup semi-final exit, Shah didn’t want to make any comments on much discussed comeback of Rohit Sharma in the shortest format ahead of T20 World Cup in June-July in the Americas.

“What is the need to have clarity right now? It (T20 World Cup) is starting in June. We have the IPL before that and also the series against Afghanistan,” said Shah.

We will finalise tenure of support staff after SA tour

The turnaround time between World Cup and South Africa tour was so short that despite giving Rahul Dravid and his team extension, the tenure couldn’t be formalised, something that will happen once they are back from the Rainbow Nation, said Shah.

“We have given the extension but we are yet to finalise the contract. We did not get time at all, they finished (with the World Cup). I had a meeting with them (Dravid & Co.) and we agreed mutually that they will continue. We will sit down and decide once they return from South Africa,” the secretary said.

New NCA will be functional by August, 2024

Shah also informed that the new NCA, constructed at BCCI’s own property (currently its functional at Chinnaswamy Stadium) in Bengaluru will be functional by mid-August of 2024.

“We will launch the new National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and the new academies in Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir at the same time in mid-August. The work on Jammu and Kashmir academy has started,” Shah said.

For ‘Pink Ball’ Tests, public interest paramount

People, who come to watch Test cricket, would ideally like to see the match end on fourth or fifth day and that is one of the reason that ‘Pink Ball’ matches that can finish well inside three days will need a lot more public interest.

India have played two ‘Pink Ball’ Tests so far — one against Bangladesh at Kolkata in 2019 and next against England at Ahmedabad in 2021. The first ended on first session of Day 3 and second one in two days.

“We will have to increase the amount of interest in the public for the pink-ball Test. If you recall the Test ended in 2-3 days. Everyone wants to watch a Test match lasting 4-5 days.

“Once they get more used to it we will do more pink-ball Tests. Last time it was done in Australia, no one has done it since then. We were in talks with England, but we will do it gradually,” Shah added.

To increase women’s internationals, other boards need to reciprocate

Shah, during his tenure, brought about a parity in match fees of men and women national cricketers but he also understands that equal earnings will only be possible if there are more number of games.

But for that to happen, it has to be prerogative of all boards not just India, England and Australia.

“The number of matches also make a difference (that the men and the women’s teams play). And for that, every cricket body has to reciprocate, me talking about this alone will not make a difference.

“The amount of cricket we  (cricket boards of England, Australia and BCCI) are playing  the others will also have to play. That is only when we will be able to increase the number of matches.”

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