Bowling coach Shane Bond is keen for Mumbai star all-rounder Hardik Pandya to get a few games under his belt before the IPL begins.
Pandya is currently recovering from back surgery and only time will tell if he makes it back for when the Indian Premier League begins on March 29.
Defending champions Mumbai are currently the favourites to land another IPL title in 2020. They can be backed at 4.34 (10/3) with LeoVegas to be crowned champions. They are ahead of rivals Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The joint second-favourites are priced at 5.50 (9/2).
Hardik backed to come back stronger
Bond believes that Pandya can come back even stronger following his back surgery, but warned about rushing to make the IPL.
“I only hope he gets to play some cricket before the IPL and always believe it's better to spend a little bit longer for coming back rather than rushing it,” Bond told PTI.
“There's no doubt he can come back. I am just pleased that they are taking an orthodox approach with Hardik's rehabilitation and T20s, especially IPL will be nice for him to comeback as he will not be over-bowled.”
Pandya has been recovering at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and has been enjoying some productive net sessions as part of his rehabilitation.
The 26-year-old had surgery on his back in October last year but was ruled out of the Test series against New Zealand after failing to reach full fitness in time.
Mumbai ready for IPL opener
Mumbai will go head-to-head with Chennai Super Kings when the IPL starts next month.
The opening fixture of the new season will take place at Wankhede, Mumbai. It will be a repeat of the previous tournament’s final that saw Mumbai narrowly come out on top.
Mumbai will then travel to Hyderabad on April 1 as fans get an early insight into which team could have the strongest claims for glory.
The last league game will also feature Mumbai. They will take on Bangalore away from home on May 17.
The tournament is set to start just 11 days after India's home ODI series against South Africa. That will end on March 18 in Kolkata.