India’s premier allrounder Hardik Pandya has said that playing in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October next year is the ultimate target, as the Baroda player recovers from major back surgery.

Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Pandya is hopeful that he will recover in time to play the Indian Premier League season 13 and may as well play a few internationals before that in New Zealand.

“Even if I take four months off now, I will still be coming back before the IPL, not even before the IPL, (but) before New Zealand, actually midway through New Zealand, he said, adding, ” That was the plan, (that) I play some internationals, I play the IPL and I make sure that I do not miss the (T20) World Cup. We decided the biggest concern was the World Cup and touchwood it is right now in the frame”.

Pandya underwent surgery in October this year after he complained of a back-pain during the Aisa Cup 2018 in September. He revealed that he could have played on for one more month, but would not have been able to give 100 per cent to the team’s cause, so he decided to undergo surgery.

“I was managing it. I tried everything possible. After trying everything, we came to the conclusion that there is no other option (but surgery). I was not able to give my 100 per cent. I was not doing justice to myself and the team, that is why I decided to go for surgery,” said.

Talking more about his rehabilitation, Pandya, who is currently training at the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground in Mumbai, said that the focus now is about regaining strength and he has not had batting or bowling session thus far.

“Right now, I have not started bowling. I have not started anything cricket-specific. “We are just making sure that the body is in the right zone. I will be starting cricket soon once my body is alright. Once we start cricket, I don’t think cricket will take that much time, you just have to make sure it gets enough load on the body to be really up to international standard. I have to practice enough to come back. Because once I come back, the workload will go straight up from zero,” he added.