India’s unbeaten World Cup 2023 campaign has received a massive jolt after it was announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will miss the remainder of the tournament. Fast bowler Prasidh Krishna, who recently returned to the international fold following a year-long injury setback, has been picked as Hardik’s replacement.
The star India all-rounder, who twisted his ankle and landed awkwardly during the game against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19, limped off the field and did not take any further part in the match. He was sidelined and subsequently missed India’s next three matches against New Zealand, England, and Sri Lanka. The BCCI and the team management was positive that Hardik, who has since been undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the NCA, would be fit for the semifinals, which India qualified for on Thursday, but it has now emerged that Hardik has failed to recover in time to be a part of the remaining campaign.
“Pandya hurt his left ankle while bowling during India’s World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune last month and it has now been confirmed that the 30-year-old has failed to recover in time to part of the rest of the campaign,” the ICC said in its statement.
Initially believed to be nothing more than an ankle sprain, Hardik’s injury took a serious turn when a ligament tear was considered. But since it was a Grade 1 injury, the recovery period was expected to last between 10-15 days. Clearly, as it turns out, the damage inflicted on Hardik’s injury is more concerning than thought. The development sure promises to come as blow to the gut for India as not only was Hardik in-form with the bat in his role as a finisher, but his availability as India’s sixth-bowling option gave the team the perfect balance. In his absence, India have included Mohammed Shami and Suryakumar Yadav in their XI, a tactic that has and promises to further make up for the void left by Hardik.
His replacement Prasidh has played 19 games for India across ODIs and T20Is and grabbed 33 wickets. He was on the shelf for almost a year due to a lumbar stress fracture of his own and made his comeback in the two T20Is against Ireland where he took 2/32 and 2/29. Included as part of India’s squad in the Asia Cup, Prasidh played his only game against Bangladesh taking 1/43 before turning up in two ODIs against Australia, finishing with 2/56 in Indore and 1/45 at Rajkot – including the wicket of David Warner.
Initially missing a berth in India’s World Cup squad, Prasidh went to represent Karnataka in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy – India’s premier domestic T20 tournament – and has been among wickets – 1/15 against Madhya Pradesh, 1/15 against Nagaland, 1/30 against Uttar Pradesh and 2/31 against Tripura. However, given India’s remarkable 7 out of 7 winning streak and Mohammed Shami’s impressive performance of taking 14 wickets in just three games, it appears unlikely that
Prasidh will have the opportunity to play.