NEW DELHI: All-rounder Hardik Pandya has declared himself fit to bowl in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), a major boost for Mumbai as well as India ahead of the T20 World Cup in June.

Pandya has been out of action since last October after suffering an ankle injury during a 50-overs World Cup match in Pune.

The 30-year-old has replaced Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain for this year’s IPL, which begins in Chennai on Friday.

“Yes, I will be bowling,” Pandya told reporters on Monday, adding that he had regained full fitness in January.

“My injury in (the) World Cup was a freak injury. It had nothing to do with my past injuries, it had nothing to do with my fitness.”

A fully fit Pandya will be India’s preferred seam bowling all-rounder at the T20 World Cup in West Indies.

The change in leadership at Mumbai surprised many but Pandya did not think it would affect his relationship with India captain Rohit, who led the franchise to five IPL crowns.

“I don’t think it will be awkward, or anything different. It will be a nice feeling because we’ve been playing (together) for 10 years,” said Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to the 2022 IPL title in their debut season.

“I’ve played my whole career under him, and I know he’s going to have a hand on my shoulder always. “He’s been travelling, he’s been playing. It’s been a couple of months since we’ve seen each other. Once he comes, we’ll definitely have a chat.”

Grieving Harry Brook withdraws from IPL after grandmother’s death

Mumbai signed English left-arm fast bowler Luke Wood as a replacement for injured Australian Jason Behrendorff on Monday.

Royal Challengers Bangalore stalwart Virat Kohli will also return to action in the IPL after skipping India’s 4-1 test series victory against England due to personal reasons.

“It’s really good to be back, firstly playing cricket and just starting off the IPL,” Kohli told RCB TV.

“It’s always exciting to come back to Bangalore for the start of the IPL season. “I am pretty happy and excited to be back and I hope all the fans are excited and happy as well.”


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