Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar had warned Hardik Pandya of an impending injury which he shrugged off, but later paid the price as he was stretchered off from the field during the Asia Cup encounter against Pakistan. Speaking on Aakash Chopra’s Youtube channel, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ said that he had met Pandya in UAE and warned him about his lean body type. “I told Bumrah in Dubai, even Hardik Pandya…I still have such strong back muscles behind my shoulders, but they looked so lean. I was shocked. I warned him that you will get injured, but he told me that he has been playing a lot of cricket. Exactly an hour and a half later, he got injured,” he said.
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The incident dates back to September 2018 when India were playing Asia Cup in UAE. Pandya had to be stretchered off the field as he pulled up a muscle while bowling against Pakistan in a group game. Injuries have played a key role in Pandya’s career. For instance, he hasn’t bowled since IPL 2020, and finds himself out of action. Akhtar further suggested some tips for the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami how to keep fit.
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“Bhuvneshwar has to strengthen his glutes, hamstring, lower back and upper torso. Shami needs to a leaner upper body. For Bumrah…it is the same, fast bowlers need to build their muscles. You go into a series with a six inch muscle and return with two inch after the series because there is loss of muscle mass. So you need to decide how much you need to run. Long runs twice is week is enough to keep yourself light on the feet. But if you know you are an explosive fast bowler then you do those specific trainings like sledge running,” he explained.
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