Later this year in June, India will be playing Australia in the final of the World Test Championship at Kensington Oval in the UK. In English conditions, which predominantly favour the pacers, a fast-bowling all-rounder becomes a necessary component of the team. Cameron Green plays this role with perfection for Australia.
India is likely to go ahead with Shardul Thakur but they will surely miss the presence of someone like Hardik Pandya, who can bowl pace and bat aggressively when needed. Pandya, however, has ruled himself out from not only the upcoming WTC final but future Test series too, as he feels he hasn’t done enough to get back into the team.
Pandya hasn’t played a Test for India since 2018, because of a recurring back injury that made it hard for him to bowl. Only last year he was out for a long time, nursing the same back injury, before coming back in the IPL 2022. Pandya had been bowling a few overs in the limited-overs format, but he is still uncertain of bowling the long spells that are required in Test cricket.
“No. I am an ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10% to reach there. I am not even a part of 1%. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be available for the WTC final or future test series until I feel that I have earned my spot,” said the Gujarat Titans captain.
Pandya has played only 11 Tests for India, having scored 532 runs and claiming 17 wickets. He also talked about the importance of fitness and workload management to reduce injury occurrence.
“We have to have an amount of faith in our S&Cs (Strength and Conditioning). I am a guy who trusts his team. These calls of workload, who should play when, who should not play that is completely on guys who are professionals and it is their call,” he added.
Pandya has always maintained that he will return to the Test team only when he is certain about his body enduring the travails of this format. He will be currently leading the Indian team in the first match of the ODI series against Australia, as the captain, Rohit Sharma is unavailable due to family commitments.
Lead Image: Hardik Pandya