Fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya is making a return to competitive cricket via the DY Patil T20 Cup, starting from Monday in Navi Mumbai. Pandya will be captaining the Reliance 1 team which begins its campaign through the opening game of the competition against Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). Pandya was out of competitive cricketing action since sustaining a left ankle injury during India’s league match in 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup game against Bangladesh in Pune on October 19. Shortly after, he was ruled out of the campaign and put on a long recovery plus rehab route to ensure his long-term availability for future events. 'When I Was 11 or 12, I Was Not Selected' Sachin Tendulkar Recalls Early Setback in Cricket Journey.

In December 2023, he was traded to Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans and became the side's skipper, replacing five-time championship winning captain Rohit Sharma in the top job ahead of IPL 2024, starting on March 22. In the DY Patil T20 tournament, Pandya is leading the Reliance 1 team which also features the likes of Tilak Verma, Nehal Wadhera, Piyush Chawla, Akash Madhwal and Vishnu Vinod. The BPCL team includes players like Sandeep Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Anukul Roy, Shreyas Gopal, and Ramandeep Singh.

Ishan Kishan, who has been out of competitive cricket after pulling out of India’s Test tour of South Africa last year due to personal reasons, is expected to play in the tournament possibly for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) side, though a confirmation is yet to arrive. Rohit Sharma Completes 4000 Test Runs, Achieves Feat in IND vs ENG 4th Test.

The DY Patil T20 Cup is deemed by many Indian players to get crucial game time ahead of IPL by playing for their office teams. 16 teams will be divided in four groups of four each, following which quarter-finals will be played on March 7 and 8 respectively. The tournament will end with the semi-finals and final on March 9.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 26, 2024 12:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website