A BCCI official has confirmed that star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is “not in a position to bowl” in Test cricket yet, and hence has been left out of the squad to tour England. The Indian team will leave for the UK to play the ICC World Test Championship final versus New Zealand, which will be followed by a 5-match Test series against the Three Lions.
The official pointed out that while Hardik Pandya was included in India’s squad for the home Test series against England, prior to the IPL 2021, he wasn’t able to gain the fitness required for bowling at the Test level.
The right-hander did bowl in the following white-ball matches against Eoin Morgan’s side, but he didn’t deliver a single delivery in the now-suspended IPL 2021 for the Mumbai Indians; it was reported that he has suffered a shoulder niggle and hence MI couldn’t risk bowling him lest aggravating his injury.
This also makes Pandya’s return to the Test arena in doubt for a long time, considering the Men in Blue have 3 ICC World Cup in the 3 consecutive years.
“Hardik Pandya is still not in a position to bowl. The experiment of selectors to keep him during England Tests and prepare him with bowling workload has failed miserably. He will henceforth not be considered for Test cricket,” a BCCI source told PTI.
No way Hardik Pandya can find a place as a pure batsman; if he can’t bowl, he shouldn’t be picked: MSK Prasad
Former chief selector MSK Prasad opines that Hardik Pandya should not be considered for selection in the 5-day format unless he is fit enough to bowl 12-15 overs in a day, as he cannot be in the eleven as a pure batsman over the likes of Hanuma Vihari.
Hardik last played Test cricket for India in 2018, on the tour of England where he picked a 5-wicket haul in Nottingham. He has since been battling a back injury which has meant that the management has to pay extra attention to his workload as he is a crucial part of the white-ball eleven.
“I have a feeling that they actually asked him not to bowl so that he can play the Test series against England. Maybe they’re preserving him for the WTC final and England Test series. No way he can find a place as a pure batsman, when you have Vihari and the other middle-order guys in the squad,” MSK Prasad told SportsKeeda.
“If at all he’s fit to bowl, only then he should be picked. If he can’t bowl, he shouldn’t be picked – as simple as that. He should be in the squad only if he’s bowling, he will add balance to the side as an all-rounder. He will be a big asset to the side if he bowls those 12-15 overs in a day. That’s what he did in Nottingham in 2018, when he picked a five-wicket haul,” he added.