India vs New Zealand: Virat Kohli and company hit nets, Hardik Pandya clears fitness test ‘starts bowling in nets’

After facing an embarrassing & heartbreaking defeat against Pakistan, Virat Kohli’s India is again back in nets ahead of make or break clash vs New Zealand. Good news coming in from the Indian team’s nets is that injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya has cleared fitness test. According to reports coming out from team India’s net session, Pandya has started bowling in the nets after a long gap.

Speaking to ANI, sources in the know said the basic problem Hardik had earlier was that his back muscles were getting stiff the moment he bowled. “If you see, even during the IPL, he did bowl at the nets in the beginning, but his back started getting stiff and that is why he had to rest and skip the game against Chennai Super Kings on September 19 and against Kolkata Knight Riders on September 23.”

“But him coming out to bat after his short bowling burst on Wednesday and then to play the pull shots showed that his back was able to hold up. The pivot that comes with playing the pull exerts pressure on the back and if you have muscle stiffness, you cannot attempt that shot. So hopefully, he is almost there when it comes to giving the captain an option as a bowler,” the source said.

Though Hardik has cleared the fitness test, InsideSport still could not uncertain whether he will be available to bowl in the forthcoming matches or not.

What happened in the Indian team nets on Wednesday?

  • Hardik bowled for a short span of around 15 minutes.
  • This after he ran long sprints under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb and Soham Desai.
  • The fitness drills lasted around 20-25 minutes.
  • Hardik then put on his batting gears and walked into the nets to fine-tune his batting skills.
  • Taking throw-downs, he went full throttle and there was no holding back.
  • In fact, there was also a short stop as MS Dhoni walked up to the side of the nets and passed on some instructions before the net session resumed.

The all-rounder had hurt his shoulder during the game against Pakistan, but the scan report cleared him of any injury concern. And the management is confident he will be available for selection against New Zealand come Sunday.

InsideSport had earlier reported that it is unlikely that seeing Hardik’s fitness issues Virat Kohli & Coach Ravi Shastri will take risk to field him in XI of crucial match vs New Zealand.

Interestingly, some of the Pakistan players also walked in at the same time to train in the adjacent ground. The Pakistan outfit obviously wore a happy mood as they beat New Zealand on Tuesday to make it two wins in two games for Babar Azam’s boys.