Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. Image Source: IANS News

Dubai, Sep 25 : Mumbai Indians director of cricket Zaheer Khan on Saturday assured that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is progressing well and that he could be drafted into the side for the five-time IPL champions' next match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday.

There has been a lot of speculation around the fitness of Pandya, who missed the first two Mumbai Indians matches -- against Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders -- which has raised questions about his fitness.

"Well, we have a practice session lined up today and we will see how it goes and then we will take a call. He has started practicing, that is what I can share with you guys, we hope that he will be fit and fine and available for the clash against RCB," said Zaheer during a virtual pre-match press conference on Saturday.

On September 23, Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shane Bond had refused to give a deadline as to when Pandya would be able to play a competitive match in the IPL.

"Hardik's training well. He's trained today. He's been close to playing. We're obviously balancing the needs of our team and the needs of team India as well. It's the one thing that this franchise does really well is look after its players with an eye not only to win this competition but an eye to the World Cup that's coming up as well. Hopefully Hardik can be back for the next match and as I said he's trained today (September 23) and he's going pretty well," Bond had said following MI's loss to Kolkata Knight Riders.

On what the problem areas in his team were, Zaheer said, "IPL is a highly competitive tournament so teams are always trying to do one-up on you and they are getting smart in their preparations. These days every team is analysing every other team, so we have to stay on top. So, that's one of the main things (we are doing). We have been focusing on our processes our strengths... These are the (same) players who have got us the championships (titles) and hopefully will continue to."

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