(Reuters) – India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the two-match test series against New Zealand as he recovers from a back injury, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Saturday.

Pandya underwent surgery on his lower back in October last year and had hoped he could return to the Indian squad for the New Zealand series.

The 26-year-old, however, failed to achieve full fitness and will continue his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

“He travelled to London and was accompanied by NCA head physio Ashish Kaushik for a review by spinal surgeon Dr James Allibone,” the BCCI said in a statement.

India will play two World Test Championship games in Wellington and Christchurch starting Feb. 21.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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