Eyeing a comeback to the national squad, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya suffered another blow after he recently failed a fitness test which put him out of contention for the upcoming tour of New Zealand. Recovering from a lower back injury, Pandya was expected to join India A squad for tour matches versus New Zealand A. But the dynamic cricketer could not recover in time.

It is learnt that the 26-year-old was not even considered for India’s tour of New Zealand. Pandya is not ready for international cricket and will now have to play at least one domestic game for Baroda before being considered for a national comeback.

India’s next assignment after the New Zealand series will be three ODIs against South Africa at home in March.

Pandya recently flunked the bowling workload monitoring test, which is one of the mandatory requirements after coming back from back surgery.

The Surat-born cricketer had recently claimed that he would be fit for the second half of the New Zealand series but sources in the BCCI claim that it was the cricketer’s individual assessment.

“He must have felt that he will be fit. But as we know he has failed the fitness test contrary to what his trainer S Rajnikant claims. It was never about Yo-Yo Test but about bowling fitness. He failed the workload test which broadly means failing a fitness test,” a senior BCCI source in the know of things was quoted by PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Pandya’s fitness is very important for India’s T20 World Cup campaign as his fast-medium bowling and explosive hitting power gives India the required balance. He last played for India in September last year.