While Hardik Pandya has not got any game time yet in the ongoing Test series against England, he has, however, been sweating it out in the training and giving his best to keep up with match fitness.
The all-rounder has been included in the Test squad after a long time – he last played the five-day format for India against the same opposition in September 2018 and has been sidelined due to back injuries, which has also rendered him unable to bowl.
Hardik Pandya did not bowl a single ball in the IPL 2020 for Mumbai Indians – but was a key contributor with the bat with his late-order finishing leading the side to its fifth title triumph. However, the good news for the fans is that he has been seen bowling a few deliveries in the nets and he also bowled 4 overs – when skipper Virat Kohli ran out of options – and picked the wicket of Steve Smith in an ODI in Sydney.
Since he is offering little to none in the bowling department, it is nigh-impossible to include him in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, especially considering how spin-friendly the pitch played in the third Test.
However, he has acquired a place for himself as a pure batsman in the limited-overs matches. The swashbuckling right-hander was the Man of the Series in India’s 2-1 T20I series win in Australia and will soon be seen in action in the 8 limited-overs matches against Eoin Morgan’s side.
Hardik Pandya takes a stunning one-handed catch whilst in the air
Hardik Pandya has been keeping his fans updated with dressing room videos and training videos. In one of his recent Instagram stories, the 27-year-old is seen grabbing a catch while practicing with fielding coach R Sridhar. Hardik moves to his left, and times his jump to perfection, pulling his right hand out, and while he is still in the air, grasps the ball cleanly.
— JÏŤÉŃĎÄŔ_PÀVÍŸÅ (@Jitendar_Paviya) February 28, 2021
Speaking of the Indian team, Virat Kohli’s side, after taking a 2-1 lead in the series, needs to avoid a defeat in the fourth and last Test, which will also be played in Ahmedabad, to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship. If India loses the game, Tim Paine’s Australia will go through to the final to face New Zealand at Lord’s in June.