The enigma surrounding Hardik Pandya’s injury and the length of time it took for him to heal is comparable to India’s failure to win an ICC title over the previous ten years. Nearly three months have passed since Hardik twisted his ankle during the World Cup match against Bangladesh, yet each time it seems like he may be on the verge of recovering, something else goes wrong. Originally scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in the first week of November, Hardik’s injury appears to have been so severe that it prevented him from participating in the tournament, missing the Australia and South Africa series, and preventing him from being fully fit for the Afghanistan T20Is. Hardik will likely make a comeback just in time for the IPL but don’t be shocked if he misses the opening half.
Hardik Pandya’s Injuries over the years
This is most likely Hardik’s second major injury of his career. Of course, his previously ailing back was the worst; he needed surgery in September 2020 to treat it. Even though he missed out on a lot of cricket for nearly a year, Hardik came back with more vigour and a refreshed back. With Hardik bowling at full throttle, India now has a potent sixth bowling option.
Allan Donald’s concerns over Hardik’s injury
Allan Donald, a former South Africa bowler, is concerned about Hardik despite his encouraging comeback from a back ailment. Despite his extensive training, the ‘White Lightening’ believes that Hardik’s bowling action does not provide the most comfortable load and release, highlighting the difficulties of a fast bowler making a comeback following a back injury.
“It’s a big thing… because when we do screening from a young age, we do lots of video analysis on young kids when they come through the system, to make sure that biomechanically, they are absolutely fine, and they’re not going to get hurt or injured seriously. So, doing the correct screening from a young age is incredibly important,” Donald told Sportstar. “Look, I think Hardik puts his body through a lot every single delivery. I mean, it’s not a nice thing and also one needs to look at how strong these guys are these days. Hardik has spent a lot of time away from the game, building his body back up. And strength and conditioning are a major, major factor these days.”
Other cricketers who also experienced similar setbacks
Other prominent Indian cricket players have also experienced setbacks in their careers due to back problems than Hardik. Perhaps the most well-known example of a fast bowler suffering from a back injury is Jasprit Bumrah. Despite missing a year of action due to a stress fracture in his back, Bumrah made an incredible comeback that is possibly the greatest comeback in history. With minimal to no adjustments made to his technique, Bumrah is once again producing his trademark brilliant deliveries, executing yorkers, and claiming wickets.
Almost every well-known former cricket player has voiced their opinion about Bumrah’s action, but Donald’s analysis of the India quick’s run-up is somewhat novel. He stressed that although Bumrah’s run-up may not be the smoothest, the science underlying it is casework, likening it to a golf swing.
“It’s very, I mean, it’s absolutely unique. You could see that he’s done this when he was a kid, playing backyard cricket or whatever it is. Or school cricket. He worked his run-up out for himself. It’s a bit of a stutter. But when it actually comes to that last few 10-metres of sprint, he is hard. And all of a sudden, he has hit rhythm for the first time. And then, of course, the late release is quite incredible. And the control that he has over the outswing and the inswing is quite a thing to watch,” added Donald.
“But in a way, it’s like a golf swing. You can have the worst swing in the world, but the last foot all the way down towards the ball and you are smashing it 350 every single time. No one’s going to care. And that’s exactly what good Bumrah does. It gets done.”
By: Gursharan Kaur