Twist of Footune

Pandya’s ankletastrophe and Shami’s seam symphony

3 min readNov 16


In an unfortunate twist of foot..err…fate, Hardik Pandya’s ankle has perhaps now become the unsung hero of India’s cricketing campaign at the 2023 ICC World Cup.

Image courtesy: ICC via Getty Images

Who would have thought that a misstep in a World Cup match against Bangladesh would set off a chain of events that would leave the opponents of Indian cricket team in distress and humor writers in the cricket world in stitches? Well, not Hardik Pandya’s ankle, that’s for sure.

It may be premature as we still have a final to play. But as Pandya hopped off the field nursing his ankle injury, little did he know (nor did we) that his sprained joint could become the MVP of the tournament. It seems the cricketing gods had a peculiar sense of humor that day, deciding that if Pandya couldn’t bowl, then India better have someone else step in for the next match. It was not like the team management needed to think hard. Because the next match was at Dharamshala.

Enter Mohammed Shami, the seam bowler extraordinaire, who, thanks to Pandya’s ankle acrobatics, became the unexpected star of India’s bowling attack. (Remember he took 14 wickes in just 4 matches in the 2019 World Cup?)

Shami, now affectionately known as the “Ankle Avenger,” has started leaving many batsmen trembling in their ankles since he started playing his first match in the ongoing World Cup against New Zealand in Dharamshala on October 22, 2023. With 23 wickets in just 6 matches, he’s become the bowler every team fears. And today, with his seven-for against New Zealand in the semifinal, he has also become the quickest bowler in the history of cricket world cup matches to get 50 wickets. He needed just 17 matches. He has 54 wickets now with one more match to go in this WC edition.

It’s almost as if Pandya’s ankle, in its twisted wisdom, whispered, “Fear not, for Shami is here!”

Indian cricket aficionados should now seriously contemplate starting an annual “Ankle Appreciation Day” (preferably on October 19), where fans gather to honor the unassuming joint that changed the course of a World Cup. Perhaps a trophy in the shape of a Golden Ankle will be awarded to the player whose unintentional injury leads to the most unexpected heroics? Not a bad idea, huh?

Rumor has it that Pandya’s ankle is now considering a memoir titled “Twists and Turns: My Journey through the Cricketing Fields.” Movie producers are reportedly in a bidding war for the movie rights, with ankle-themed merchandise already hitting the market — ankle socks, ankle bracelets, and even an “Ankle Avenger” action figure that comes with its own tiny bowling ball.

As we approach the Finals, here’s to Pandya’s ankle, the unsung hero, the accidental trendsetter, and the golden gateway to cricketing glory!!

May it continue to trip its way into our hearts, leaving us all in pain and joy — both from empathetic laughter and awe — as we celebrate this interesting chapter in the ankles of Indian cricket history!!

May the Ankle Avenger Shami continue his relentless pursuit of wickets, leaving batsmen questioning their life choices and seeking solace in the comforting embrace of ankle braces!!

Will Pandya’s ankle make a surprise cameo in his quasi hometown Ahmedabad on November 19, perhaps a mid-air twist during the victory lap?

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the legend of Pandya’s ankle — a legacy, I am sure, that will be retold in cricketing lore for generations to come.

PS: All jokes and thanks aside, here’s wishing Pandya and his ankle a speedy recovery!




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