The all-rounder last played a Test match for India in July 2018.

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Seam bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the two-Test series in New Zealand as he was unable to effectively prove his fitness post a back surgery. The 26-year-old underwent a surgery in London last October for a chronic back problem and has been on the road to recovery ever since.

Pandya was a crucial part of the Indian setup in the 2019 World Cup in England, playing all the matches in that competition. Ever since the World Cup though, the seamer has been struggling for witness with that back problem, and finally went under the knife to ensure he stays fit by the time the 2020 cricket season comes along.

He was recently selected in the India A squad for their New Zealand Tour, but after failing a fitness test, was replaced by Vijay Shankar. His fitness has now been dealt a further blow as he has now has been excluded from the Indian Test squad.

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"We decided to do the surgery now because we saw the future and thought this is the right time. We thought this was the right time because even if I take four months, I will be coming back before the New Zealand series, mid-way actually," Hardik was quoted in an interview to ANS in December.

"That was the plan that I play some international games, the IPL and then the World T20. The biggest concern was the World T20 which touch wood is now in place. I could have done the surgery a month later, but it would not have helped me in any way," he said. "I was feeling the difference in my back and wasn't able to take it."

Hardik Pandya has played 11 Tests, 54 ODIs and 40 T20 Internationals so far for India, and is one of the very few seam bowling all-rounders in the country. India’s Test series games against New Zealand begin on February 21.

Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Glyn Kirk