Mumbai: Former India speedster Zaheer Khan advised Monday injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya to be patient and not rush his comeback from a back injury.
Pandya has been out of action since September and underwent a surgery for an acute lower-back injury in October. The 26-year-old, who plays for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL, is not expected to make a comeback before the cash-rich T20 league beginning March 29.
“For Mumbai, IPL is still a long way away, and for Hardik it’s important he should take his time to comeback 120 per cent fit. I can say it by experience, when anyone goes through injuries, it’s not about coming back, it’s about how you come back,” Zaheer, who himself made multiple comebacks after being injured, told reporters here. Zaheer incidentally is director of cricket operations at MI.
“You have to be patient through that process and you have to listen to the team which is around you – the support staff, be it your doctor, your physio, your trainers. Those are the key people one should communicate with and control what can be controlled,” Zaheer pointed out.
“I have always been advising everyone in the same fashion: you have to take your time; you cannot be impatient and rush your comeback. It’s about when you come back, it should be in for a long haul,” pointed out the pacer who at one time was called the ‘Sultan of Swing’.
Zaheer confirmed that he has spoken to Pandya in the recent past. “I have (spoken to him). I will say this to anyone who is a sportsman and is going through an injury phase. It’s frustrating at times when you’re away from the game, but it’s very important to stay patient and control things in your control. It’s about listening to your body,” asserted Zaheer.
Zaheer also rated India’s recent 5-0 T20 triumph in New Zealand as a huge achievement.
“New Zealand are having a tough time; they tried to find answers to beat this Indian team. But I feel 5-0 victory is a huge achievement. They should take a lot of pride from what they have done from the New Zealand,” Zaheer stated.