Hardik may return for Afghanistan games; Shami will fly to South Africa for Tests — Jay Shah gives update on injured stars

Mumbai: AS the Indian cricket team gets ready to launch its campaign in South Africa, here is some good news for it — allrounder Hardik Pandya is likely to join his teammates ahead of schedule and may be available for the upcoming series against Afghanistan.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Honorary Secretary Jay Shah on Saturday gave an update on Pandya’s injury saying that the allrounder will be available well before India’s crucial series against England and the T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

Pandya had suffered an injury during the World Cup, hurting his ankle as he tried to stop the ball off his own bowling in the match against Bangladesh in Pune. He has been recuperating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

“We are monitoring it (Pandya’s injury) on a day-to-day basis. He is at NCA only, he is working very hard and we will let you know in due course the moment he is fit. He could be fit before the Afghanistan series also,” said Shah on the sidelines of the WPL Auction here.

Talking about two other stars recuperating from injury, Shah said that pacer Mohammed Shami would be available for the Test matches against South Africa while the BCCI will take a final call on Pant’s return to action, clearly indicating that it will be the board that will take the call and not his franchise whether the wicketkeeper batter will play in the upcoming ILP.

Shah said the BCCI has not yet decided on how long the extension given to the men’s team management under Rahul Dravid will be.

Asked about the contracts of the coaching staff, Shah said they are yet to finalise them.

“We have given the extension but we are yet to finalise the contract. We did not get time at all, they finished (with the World Cup), I had a meeting with them and we agreed mutually that they would continue. We will sit down and decide once they return from South Africa,” said Shah.

Asked about the lack of clarity on whether Rohit Sharma will play the T20 World Cup next year as he had recently decided to sit out the the white-ball matches on the South Africa tour, Shah said there is still time for that.

“What is the need to have clarity right now? It (T20 World Cup) is starting in June, we have the IPL before that and the series against Afghanistan,” he said.

Shah was also asked about India not scheduling any more pink-ball matches after the one-Test against Australia at Eden, Shah said they are in talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on this matter. – IANS

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