ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Hardik Pandya fears injury against Bangladesh

During his first bowl game, the all-rounder appeared to twist his left ankle while following through.

ESPNcricinfo Staff

Pujara: Hardik's injury will hurt India's balance

Pujara: Hardik’s injury will hurt India’s balance

Hayden and Pujara discuss how India should revamp their lineup if the all-rounder misses the upcoming matches

India had a serious injury scare when Hardik Pandya limped off the field with an injured left ankle during their fourth World Cup championship match against Bangladesh in Pune. On his first pitch – the ninth of the innings – Pandya appeared to twist his ankle during his follow-through, and it was announced later in the broadcast that he would not return to the field for the remainder of the innings.

The physio immediately ran out to tend to Pandya and worked on his ankle for several minutes. He then tried to continue his treatment, but was in too much pain to do so. At 2:59 p.m., an hour into the match, Pandya left for treatment and Virat Kohli bowled the remaining three deliveries. The BCCI later said Pandya would be taken for scans.

Apart from Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav, Pandya is arguably the most irreplaceable player in the Indian team because of the all-round role he plays. He is good enough to bowl as a specialist hitter, but his bowling provides India with the sixth bowler they sorely need. Pandya had bowled 16 overs in India’s first three World Cup matches and taken five wickets.

Hardik Pandya injured his left ankle in his debut match CPI via Getty Images

Shardul Thakur, more of a specialist fast bowler capable of hitting, has bowled only eight overs in two matches, and Rohit Sharma has preferred to go to Pandya before Thakur in this World Cup so far.

India have been careful about Pandya’s quantity ahead of the World Cup precisely because of the balance he brings to the team. If he were to miss a match, India would not have a replacement of equal value. Either Shardul Thakur bats at No. 7 and replaces Pandya’s bowling, or he brings in an extra batter and relies on five bowlers to bowl 10 overs each.

With three wins in three matches, India is one of two teams still undefeated in this World Cup. After Bangladesh, their next match is on Sunday in Dharamsala against New Zealand, who are the only other undefeated team in the tournament with four wins from four matches.

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