Hardik Pandya recounts his challenging journey during 2023 World Cup

After months of anticipation, Hardik Pandya is set to make his highly awaited return to the cricket field with the Mumbai Indians in the upcoming 2024 Indian Premier League. The Indian all-rounder had been sidelined since October last year following a freak injury sustained during a crucial ODI World Cup match against Bangladesh.

Recently, Pandya shed light on the immediate aftermath of his injury during the World Cup encounter. Attempting to halt a fierce straight drive from Litton Das, Pandya suffered an ankle injury that forced him to leave the field abruptly. Subsequently, he was ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, as India fell short in the final against Australia.

“I don’t start preparations for a tournament 2-3 months before. The preparation for the World Cup began a year ago. I planned my routines. This was a freak injury. Very few people know that my injury was extended because when I got injured, it was meant to be for 25 days only. But I pushed. I was like, ‘I had come back’. When I left the team, I told them, ‘main 5 din me vaapis aa raha hu’ (I will come back in five days),” Pandya revealed to Star Sports, sharing insights into his rehabilitation process.

Despite enduring setbacks during his recovery, including multiple injections and draining excess blood from his ankle due to swelling, Pandya remained resolute in his pursuit to rejoin the team.

“I got injections done on my ankles at three different places, I had to remove blood from my ankle because the swelling became that much. In a way, I didn’t want to give up. At one point, I was aware if I might keep pushing, I might be away for a long time. If there was a 1 percent chance of being with the team, I would.”

I wasn’t able to walk, but I was even trying to run: Pandya

Reflecting on his passion for representing his country, Pandya expressed remorse over missing out on the World Cup, labeling it as a significant blow. However, he is now gearing up to lead the Mumbai Indians in their clash against the Gujarat Titans on March 24, marking his return to competitive cricket.

“When I was pushing, I had a recurrence where my injury extended to three months. I wasn’t able to walk, but I was even trying to run. I was on painkillers, I was trying to make a comeback. The biggest pride for me is to play for the country, and the World Cup at home was my baby. I missed out on that, and it is something that is going to be heavy on the heart,” said Pandya.

Adding to the excitement, Pandya will reunite with former teammate Rohit Sharma, who could potentially captain him during the upcoming T20 World Cup in June. As Pandya braces himself for this new chapter, fans eagerly await his stellar performances on the field, hoping for a triumphant comeback for the dynamic all-rounder.