MUMBAI: Former India speedster Zaheer Khan on Monday advised injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya to be patient and not rush his comeback from a back injury.
Pandya has been out of action since September and underwent surgery for an acute lower-back injury in October.
The 26-year-old, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, is not expected to make a comeback before the cash-rich T20 league, beginning March 29.
"For MI, IPL is still a long way away, and for Hardik it's important he should take his time to come back 120 percent. I can say it by experience, when anyone goes through injuries, it's not about coming back, it's about how you come back," Zaheer, who himself made multiple comebacks after being injured, told reporters here.
Zaheer is director of cricket operations at Mumbai Indians.
"You have to be patient through that process and you have to listen to the team which is around you - the support staff, be it your doctor, your physio, your trainers. Those are the key people one should communicate with and control the controllables.
"I have always been advising everyone in the same fashion: you have to take your time; you cannot be impatient and rush your comeback. It's about when you come back, it should be in for a long haul," he said. Pandya is undergoing rehab and also failed a fitness test which delayed his comeback bid.
Asked if he has spoken to Pandya recently, Zaheer said: "I have (spoken to him). I will say this to anyone who is a sportsman and is going through an injury phase. It's frustrating at times when you're away from the game, but it's very important to stay patient and control things in your control. It's about listening to your body..." Zaheer interacted with kids of Mumbai Indians Junior, an inter-school programme organised by the IPL franchise.