Later on Saturday, the BCCI provided rough details of the surgery through a media statement, saying the surgery was carried out after Hardik “complained” of back issues in the final T20I against South Africa in Bengaluru on September 22. The BCCI also said the surgery was carried out keeping in mind “long-term” benefits.
“The BCCI Medical Team consulted a panel of spine specialists in England and they recommended surgery for a long-term solution of this issue,” the statement said. “On Friday, a successful surgery was conducted. Hardik will soon commence his rehabilitation process.”
Hardik has been hampered by lower back issues since the Test series in England in 2018. The problem surfaced during the Asia Cup in September 2018. After that, he missed the home Test series against West Indies, the T20I series in Australia, and wasn’t initially part of the Test squad on that tour.
Hardik had a successful IPL earlier this summer, but was rested once again for the West Indies tour immediately after the World Cup. It is believed the team management was happy for him to rest and focus on his strength training before he returned for the T20I series against South Africa in September.
The break, Hardik had told IANS “has helped me a lot and my fitness has gone to the next level”. After that, though, Hardik wasn’t considered for the ongoing Test series after the back injury resurfaced during the T20Is against South Africa. The seriousness of the injury can be ascertained by the fact that Yogesh Parmar, one of physios who is part of the BCCI medical staff, accompanied Hardik to ensure the injury is managed properly going forward.
Hardik’s injury follows that of strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who the BCCI said had a stress fracture in the lower back. Bumrah, too, is expected to be in the UK soon to consult specialists before determining the next step.
Bumrah will be accompanied by Ashish Kaushik, the head physio at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. It is understood that the BCCI wanted Hardik and Bumrah to be accompanied by the physios since they weren’t entirely happy with the players managing the rehab on their own.
* 10.20 GMT: The story has been updated to reflect the details of Hardik Pandya’s surgery