Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar recalled his meeting with India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya ahead of India’s match against Pakistan in the 2018 Asia Cup. He revealed that he was shocked to see Padya’s slim figure and had warned him about the injury. After a while he was taken off the field due to injury. Hardik suffered an injury while bowling in the 18th over in the Asia Cup 2018 group match against Pakistan. He was seen holding his back during the follow-through and then lay down on the ground. He was then immediately taken off the field by a stretcher. The reason for this was attributed by the BCCI to a serious injury in his lower back.
Talking on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel, Akhtar said, “I told Bumrah in Dubai, even Hardik Pandya. The muscles in the back of my shoulders are still so strong. But he (Hardik) was looking so thin. I was surprised. , I had warned him that you would get injured, but he told me he was playing a lot of cricket. Exactly an hour and a half later he was injured. Hardik has been battling this injury for the last few years. Due to a back problem, he played as a batsman against Pakistan in the opening match of IPL 2021 and T-World Cup 2021.
Hardik has been out of Team India’s team in all three formats of cricket due to fitness. Earlier he was not selected in the T20 series against New Zealand and now he has not been selected in the tour of South Africa. India has to play a series of three Tests and three ODIs in this tour starting from 26 September. Akhtar then advised the three senior Indian fast bowlers to maintain fitness and said that they need to focus on building muscles. He gave this advice to Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Bumrah.