India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the upcoming T20I and ODI series against Australia due to lower back stiffness, the BCCI stated in a media release on Thursday (February 21). He will undergo strength and conditioning training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru from next week.
While no replacement has been named for Pandya in the T20I squad, which is now down to 14 members, Ravindra Jadeja will replace the 25-year-old Baroda lad in the ODI team.
Pandya’s absence would now shift the focus on Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar who has impressed both the team management and selectors during the New Zealand series. Vijay is being seen as a batting allrounder and is part of the pool of players shortlisted for the World Cup.
Jadeja, meanwhile, will be hoping to make the most of this call-up – provided he’s selected in the playing eleven – to present his case for the World Cup selection. The left-armer featured in the ODIs against the Windies and also played three ODIs against Australia. He was picked for the ODI series against New Zealand but failed to get a game.
India will play two T20Is against Australia – on February 24 in Visakhapatnam and February 27 in Bengaluru – before the five-match ODI series which begins on March 2 in Hyderabad.