Hardik Pandya is expected to be key to India’s chances at the World Cup starting May 30 in England and Wales.

Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the upcoming limited overs series against Australia due to lower back stiffness, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Thursday. India and Australia are due to play a two-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series and a five-match One-day International (ODI) series, starting February 24 in Visakhapatnam. Ravindra Jadeja has been called in as Pandya’s replacement for the ODIs.

“Team India all-rounder Mr. Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the forthcoming T20I & ODI series against Australia due to lower back stiffness,” the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in their official statement.

“The BCCI Medical team decided to rest the all-rounder and let him undergo strength and conditioning work for his lower back at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Mr. Pandya will begin his strength work from next week,” the statement added.

“The T20I squad will now consist of 14 members. Mr. Ravindra Jadeja has been named replacement for Hardik Pandya for the 5 ODIs,” further added the statement.

Pandya is expected to be key to India’s chances at the World Cup starting May 30 in England and Wales.

The 25-year-old recently found himself in the dock for making sexist comments on a TV chat show.

Pandya bragged about his encounters with multiple women on the programme in January with teammate KL Rahul sitting next to him.

The duo were ordered to return from India’s tour of Australia.

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