Injured Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya injured in 2018 Asia Cup

Shoaib Akhtar Warns Hardik Pandya: Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar reveals that he already predicted Hardik Pandya would soon face an injury owing to his lean physique.

Shoaib Akhtar Warns Hardik Pandya

Speaking on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel, legendary Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar revealed that he had predicted Hardik’s fitness issues and had also warned the Mumbai Indians (MI) cricketer. Akhtar explained that a lean physique has contributed to the 28-year-old’s back issues.

“I had told Bumrah in Dubai and even Hardik Pandya. They were lean like birds. They didn’t have back muscles. Even now, I have such good strong back muscles behind my shoulders”, said Akhtar.

“I touched his (Hardik) back, muscles were there but very lean. So I warned him that he would get injured. But he said that he has been playing a lot of cricket.”

“Exactly an hour-and-a-half later, he got injured”, he further added.

Hardik Pandya first sustained a back injury during the Asia Cup 2018. He recovered to play in the IPL 2019 and the World Cup before the injury resurfaced. Pandya required surgery to get back to his standard shape. The Mumbai Indians star underwent successful surgery in London in October and is expected to be fit for the IPL.

Akhtar also stated that he had advised Hardik to increase his muscle mass.

Hardik Fails to Get his Form Back

Hardik was also picked for the T20 World Cup squad where MS Dhoni was appointed as team mentor, but he did not live up to the expectations as India had an early exit from the marquee event. The Indian selectors faced flak for picking Hardik in the T20 WC squad despite knowing – he cannot bowl and is not 100 percent fit.

Hardik’s inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup team this year wasn’t well-received by fans and pundits with many pointing out his fitness issues.

The Men in Blue failed to reach the knockouts after losing to Pakistan and New Zealand in the Super 12 stage. Despite not bowling in IPL 2021, he would resume bowling duties against the Blackcaps and Afghanistan during the tournament.