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Hardik Pandya ruled out of Australia series due to back issue

Pandya had earlier suffered a lower-back injury during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan and had to be stretchered off the field. He subsequently missed the home series against the Windies.

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Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya, the India all-rounder, 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). The 25-year-old will undergo strength and conditioning training at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru from next week.

While no replacement has been named for Pandya in the T20I squad, which is now down to 14 members, left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will replace the Baroda cricketer in the ODI team.

Pandya had earlier suffered a lower-back injury during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan and had to be stretchered off the field. He subsequently missed the home series against the Windies.

Pandya returned to the Indian team mid-way during the Test series against Australia but didn’t play the Tests and was sidelined again due to a suspension handed to him and KL Rahul for their comments on a talk show. After more than four months of inaction, Pandya made his international comeback in the third ODI of the New Zealand series.

In Pandya’s absence, Vijay Shankar is the lone seam-bowling all-rounder in India’s T20 squad and is likely to get a few overs with India not utilising his bowling services during the New Zealand T20s.

Jadeja, meanwhile, will be hoping to make the most of this call-up – provided he’s selected in the eleven – to present his case for World Cup selection. The left-armer featured in the ODIs against the Windies and also played the three ODIs against Australia. He was picked for the ODI series against New Zealand but failed to get a game.

India 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. The second ODI will be played in Nagpur on March 5, while Ranchi will host the third game on March 8. Mohali and Delhi are the venues for the last two ODIs which will be played on March 10 and 13 respectively.

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