Former India opener, Virender Sehwag feels that it is possible that Hardik Pandya himself may have asked the selectors to omit him from the Test squad.
Pandya has been in supreme form since returning from his injury. He had a strike rate of 178 in the IPL 2020. Playing for Mumbai Indians, he averaged 35 and had a strike rate of 178- the third-best in the tournament behind Kieron Pollard and Jofra Archer.
Pandya carried his prodigious striking form to international cricket against Australia. He was India’s highest-run scorer in the ODI series – Man of the Match in the third ODI – and is Man of the series in the T20Is.
If he was bowling, then he would have been a part of the Test team: Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag has opined that if Hardik was fit enough to bowl, then he would have surely made it into the Test squad. The all-rounder hasn’t been bowling owing to a back injury. He didn’t bowl a single over in the IPL, and he didn’t bowl on the Australia tour, barring the 4 overs in the second ODI when Virat Kohli was in desperate need of some overs.
The 43-year-old believes that Pandya could have asked to be excluded from the Test squad, as he is not fit enough to bowl, and would also like to spend some time with his family. Weeks before the IPL, he was blessed with a baby boy, and have been away from home for a long time.
Speaking to the broadcaster, Sony Networks, Virender Sehwag said, “If he was bowling, then he would have been a part of the Test team. It is possible Hardik Pandya might have told the selectors not to consider him for the Test matches as he is not bowling fit and that he will only play in the ODIs and T20Is and that he will join back his family.”
Virender Sehwag also asserted that if and when Hardik starts bowling, he will become a vital part of the Test team, as the Indian team is struggling to find a pace-bowling all-rounder.
The commentator believes that it would be beneficial for the team in the longer format if Hardik can continue his form with the bat, whenever he gets a chance. In his 11 Test career, Pandya averages 31, with a hundred against Sri Lanka in addition to 17 wickets.
“But no doubt when he starts bowling, he will be a crucial part of the Test team. Because of the manner in which he bats in ODI cricket or T20Is, imagine if he starts scoring those quick runs at No.6 or No.7 in Test cricket, India will be in a good position to win Test matches,” Virender Sehwag added.