Team India all-rounder and Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya has joined the Indian camp, which is underway at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, ahead of the beginning of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

Hardik, who hasn’t played any cricket since the T20 World Cup last October-November due to fitness issues, will be at the NCA for a few days before he re-joins the Gujarat Titans for the upcoming season of IPL. Pandya is the skipper of the Gujarat Titans, who are currently undergoing quarantine and will start practice at Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera from Thursday.

The all-rounder will have to bowl at least 10 overs to prove his fitness in NCA and be eligible to play in the IPL 2022. “The NCA physios and VVS Laxman will decide the fitness test program. But as the selectors have made it clear, he will have to bowl a minimum of 10 overs and pass the mandatory Yo-yo test as per set parameters. It’s not specially designed for him. But all cricketers do need to pass the fitness tests. For the centrally contracted players, it is mandatory before IPL,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport website.

The camp at the NCA is a brainchild of head coach Rahul Dravid and has been called for the white-ball players of the Indian team with an eye on the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. The team management wants to take stock of the players’ fitness and advise them accordingly before the two-month long IPL, a Cricbuzz report said.

The call-up for Pandya is an indication to him being in the scheme of things for Dravid, who has started planning for the October tournament. Though the 10-day camp is winding up on Tuesday, Pandya will be there and will train alongside Mumbai Indians Surya Kumar Yadav and a few other players, who are undergoing rehab at the BCCI’s Bangalore facility.

Meanwhile, Chennai Super Kings have said they still have no confirmation on the exact availability period of all-rounder Deepak Chahar for the IPL season. Chahar, who was bought for Rs 14 crore by CSK in the mega auction, has suffered a hamstring injury.

CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said the franchise will take a call on him or a potential replacement only after a full report from the NCA on pacer’s injury status. “At this stage, we are not thinking of a replacement yet,” Viswanathan said.

(with IANS inputs)