Ind vs Aus 2nd ODI: Hardik Pandya returns to bowling in Sydney despite declaring, ‘I’m not fit to bowl’

India vs Australia 2nd ODI: Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya finally returned to bowling in the top-flight cricket after more than a year as the 27-year-old bowled four overs in the second ODI against Australia in Sydney on Sunday.

This was the first time that Pandya bowled in an international match since September 2019.

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Pandya underwent a back surgery in October last year in the UK after his lower back had been troubling him since the Test series in England in 2018.

The surgery kept Pandya out of action for almost a year, last playing a T20I against South Africa at home in September 2019. After that he missed the Tests against the same opposition, the home series against Bangladesh and West Indies, a T20I series against Sri Lanka and ODIs against Australia at home, and the entire tour of New Zealand earlier this year.

Moreover, Pandya didn’t even bowl a single over in entire IPL 2020.

Ind vs Aus: ‘I’m not yet fit to bowl,’ said Pandya after the 1st ODI against Australia on Friday

“I am working at my bowling at the nets. But I am not yet match-fit with my bowling…. I will come at the right time to bowl when needed. I am looking at the long-term goal. I want to be 100 per cent fit to my bowling capacity. I won’t exhaust myself. The process (for me to return to bowling) is going on. My bowling isn’t ready,” Pandya said in the post-match conference of the opening ODI against Australia.

Also, with another 10 months left for the ICC T20 World Cup, Pandya had indicated on Friday that bowling is something that he wants to do keeping long-term goals and big events in mind.

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Ind vs Aus 2nd ODI: With remodelled action, Hardik Pandya bowls for first time in over a year

Pandya has remodelled his action to reduce the stress on his body. His delivery stride earlier was too side-on but on Sunday, it looked open-chested, which he had worked on to reduce the burden on his body.

Meanwhile, Hardik gave away 24 runs in his four overs and picked a big wicket of Steve Smith, who departed after scoring a masterful century in the second ODI as Australia set 390-run target for the Virat Kohli and co.

“Hardik felt okay to bowl a couple of overs. Initially (we) just thought of trying (him) for a couple of overs but he felt good and bowled a couple of more. And I think he gave away a bit of (our) bowling plan with his off-cutters,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.