India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been on the sidelines since September 2019 due to an injury, appeared on a leading media network's program recently where he opened on the controversy he courted on a popular television show that led to his suspension from the Indian team. He also stated how he came back stronger after witnessing the toughest period in his international career. Pandya is set to make a long-awaited return during the upcoming tour of New Zealand later this month according to multiple media reports on Monday. He has been included in India A squad that tours New Zealand just before the senior national team does.
While speaking during the program, Hardik Pandya said that he was hopeful for yet another good comeback as he had been fortunate so far. The 26-year old also opened up about the controversy where he was slammed by fans and critics for his misogynistic remarks on a leading Indian talk show, where he appeared with teammate KL Rahul. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued both the cricketers show-cause notices after their insensitive remarks on the talk show and also suspended them from the team which resulted in their exclusion from the ODI series against Australia in January 2019.
Further elaborating on the incident, Pandya said that as cricketers, they did not know what was going to happen. He added that the ball was not in his court but in someone else's where they had to take the shot and that it was a very vulnerable place where one wouldn't want to be. Both the cricketers saw their teammates distance themselves from the controversy and found little support during that period.
Pandya may be returning to the Indian team this month and even sooner than expected. It is expected that the dynamic player would be making his comeback to the national side when the Indian team tours New Zealand later this month. Although a leading Indian media daily claimed on Monday that Pandya's return in the upcoming ODIs against Australia is in the 'thought process' of the BCCI, the Baroda star is likely to replace Shivam Dube in the squad for the New Zealand tour.