India are set to recall Hardik Pandya for the upcoming ODI and T20I series in New Zealand later this month. After the three-match ODI series against Australia, India will leave for New Zealand for a full-fledged series consisting of five T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests. The T20I series will start the long tour on January 24.
Hardik Pandya has not played international cricket since the T20I series against South Africa in September, and underwent back surgery in London in October. He has been named in India A’s squad for the one-day games in New Zealand. He is likely to make it to the senior team too for the series against Black Caps. The three-match one-day game series between India A and New Zealand A will start on January 22. The two unofficial Tests will start on January 30 and February 7 respectively.
In his absence, India have tried out Shivam Dube who has performed decently. However, Hardik Pandya remains the first-choice as the allrounder in the team especially in limited-overs format and the team-management will be desperate to have him back. Hardik Pandya now needs to prove his match-fitness by playing for India A and it will pave the way for his comeback in the senior side.
The squad for the six-week-long New Zealand tour will be announced on Sunday with the selectors likely to pick a team keeping in mind the T20 World Cup.
“About Hardik, it’s only about checking out if he is fully fit for international cricket or not. He is very integral to India’s World T20 plans,” a senior BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI.
Kedar Jadhav in doubt:
While Hardik Pandya is set to be named in the ODI and T20I squad, there are question marks over Kedar Jadhav’s place in the ODI side. Jadhav has struggled with the bat in the middle-order and has not contributed much with the ball. Apart from Jadhav, the other players who played against West Indies are set to be named in the squad.
In Jadhav’s place, selectors might give opportunities to the likes of Suryakumar Yadav or Sanju Samson if Jadhav is left out of the squad. Suryakumar has been doing extremely well this season while Samson is already in the thick of things. In the Test team, Shubman Gill is likely to be named as the backup opener ahead of Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul.