“He will not be taking the flight to Dharamsala with the team on 20th October and will now join the team directly in Lucknow where India play England,” the BCCI said in a media release. “He is advised rest and will be under the constant supervision of the BCCI medical team.” India play England on October 29, seven days after the New Zealand match.
Pandya injured himself during the ninth over of Bangladesh’s innings when, trying to field a ball in his follow-through, he appeared to have twisted his ankle. He was taken for scans and took no further part in the match.
“He pulled up a bit sore,” Rohit Sharma said at the post-match presentation. “There’s no major damage. That is good for us. But honestly, with an injury like that, you’ve got to assess every day. So we just hope that he pulls up well tomorrow morning. And then we will assess, whatever is required for us to do as a team, we’ll do that.”
Apart from Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav, Pandya is arguably the most irreplaceable player in the India squad because of the all-round role he performs. He is good enough to play as a specialist batter but his bowling provides India the sixth bowler they badly need. Pandya had bowled 16 overs in India’s first three World Cup matches and taken five wickets.
With no like-for-like replacement available, India will have to change their combination against New Zealand. One option is to bring in Suryakumar Yadav for Pandya and Mohammed Shami for Shardul Thakur. That will, though, leave Rohit with just five specialist bowlers.
So far, India have won their all four matches in the World Cup, and are second on the points table, only the net run rate separating them and toppers New Zealand.