Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has said that the balance of the side will certainly be hampered by veteran Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence for the all-important World Cup match against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday, October 22. However, Pandya injured his ankle while he was trying to stop a ball in his follow-through against Bangladesh in Pune and was subsequently ruled out of the game against New Zealand. At a press conference on Saturday, Dravid added that India will miss the versatility that Pandya brings to the team.
“Hardik is an important player for us. He is obviously missing this game and we will try to work around the 14 and see what’s the best combination. But we will obviously miss the balance we have had in the first four games,” he stated. “The all-rounder was taken for scans after his fall and has been advised rest. He will be under the constant supervision of the BCCI Medical Team.”
However, Hardik Pandya picked up five wickets in India’s first three matches in the 2023 World Cup. He batted only once, scoring 11* against Australia as well. And, Dravid also applauded KL Rahul for his keeping in the World Cup so far. He further added that it’s a challenge for the cricketer since he is not a regular keeper and he has only recently come back from injury as well.
“KL Rahul has been doing a fantastic job. Rahul has really kept superbly in this tournament and batted really well whenever he has got a chance. It is a challenge since he is not someone who keeps regularly. He’s kept a bit more than I did but it’s still challenging considering that he came back from a long injury. We thought we would build him up and play him in matches leading up to the World Cup but couldn’t do that because of his injury. The way he came back and worked hard is great. He’s kept really well and it’s really good to see, which gives us a lot of confidence in his abilities,” Rahul Dravid concluded.