Hardik, who returned to the 22 yards after five months, was not careful enough to abide by the law.
Ace India all-rounder Hardik Pandya eventually made a comeback to competitive cricket this week by turning out for Reliance 1 team in the DY Patil T20 Cup. He batted impressively in the game in Mumbai by hitting 38 off 25 balls at No.4 with four sixes and then picked three wickets. But controversy also did not let him go as the cricketer was seen sporting the Team India helmet and could face the consequences for the action from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The India board had in 2014 asked match referees to ensure that the country’s national cricketers do not sport the BCCI logo while playing a domestic game as that will be considered a violation of its code.
“The rule has been there from the start of the season but has only been implemented in all earnestness during the recently-concluded Deodhar Trophy final between West Zone and East Zone,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by agencies that year. But Hardik, who returned to the 22 yards after five months, was not careful enough to abide by the law.
Hardik Pandya’s fitness under MSK Prasad’s scanner
Hardik’s performance, meanwhile, was closely monitored by outgoing chief national selector MSK Prasad at the venue during the game in DY Patil T20 Cup. Hardik last played a game against South Africa last September and underwent back surgery in the UK in October. He was expected to make it to the Indian team for the ongoing New Zealand tour but failed to turn up for the India ‘A’ side against New Zealand ‘A’ to showcase his fitness.
Prasad was content with Hardik’s all-round show in Mumbai and said it was good to see him steaming in. The Indian team will be requiring the all-rounder’s service in the run-up to the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year while his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians (MI) is also watching him closely ahead of the IPL 2020 starting in March end.
MI support staff including former India cricketers like Pravin Amre, Zaheer Khan, Kiran More, and Robin Singh have also followed Hardik’s fitness condition closely and he might feature in the opening match between Mumbai and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on March 29.