New Delhi: Flamboyant India all-rounder Hardik Pandya was on Saturday ruled out of the upcoming Test series against New Zealand after failing to regain full match fitness, the BCCI said.
The decision was taken after the 26-year-old consulted spinal surgeon James Allibone in the United Kingdom.
“Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. He travelled to London and was accompanied by NCA Head Physio Ashish Kaushik for a review by spinal surgeon Dr James Allibone,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
“Hardik will be under rehab at the National Cricket Academy until he regains full match fitness,” he added.
Pandya underwent a successful surgery in October last year to treat an acute lower-back injury and has remained out of action since.
He last played for India during the T20 International series against South Africa, taking part in the third match in Bengaluru. He has not played Test cricket since the Southampton match against England in September 2018.
According to BCCI sources, Pandya is also unlikely to be available for the three-match home ODI series against South Africa from March 12-18. They said his case is more serious and he is unlikely to come back before IPL (which starts on March 29).
It is also learnt that BCCI is now aware that his trainer S Rajnikant did not give the Board a complete picture of Pandya’s fitness status.
The back problem had kept Pandya in and out of the national team since mid-2018.
Returning from the surgery, Pandya was last month pulled out of the India A team’s tour of New Zealand after failing mandatory fitness tests in Mumbai.
The selectors had picked him in the squad without testing him in the Ranji matches. Pandya’s scores were below the permissible range in the fitness tests.
In his place, Tamil Nadu captain Vijay Shankar was drafted into the India A team.
The all-rounder had also taken part in a practice session with the Indian team before an ODI against Australia in Mumbai last month.
Pandya’s fitness is important for India’s T20 World Cup plans as his fast medium bowling and explosive hitting power gives the team the required balance.