The national selectors, who were set to announce India’s ODI and Test squad for the tour of New Zealand on Sunday (January 19), are reportedly set to wait for some more time before announcing the teams. According to media reports, the selectors are awaiting clarity on allrounder Hardik Pandya’s fitness status. Hardik Pandya’s rehabilitation programme for his back injury is taking longer than expected.
The allrounder, who has not played for India since September, underwent a surgery on his back in October and has almost recovered. He was recently named in India A squad for the one-day games in New Zealand but was pulled out of the squad as he was still not match ready. But last week, he was seen bowling in the nets to Team India before the Mumbai ODI against Australia and thus one can say that he has all but recovered from the injury.
The selectors have thus decided to wait for some more time before taking a final call on Hardik Pandya. The pace bowling allrounder is an integral part of the team across formats and missing him for a challenging tour like New Zealand could be a big blow for the team.
“There isn’t going to be too much of brainstorming with regards to the team. But a fit Hardik is a necessity. The moment NCA (National Cricket Academy) gives Hardik green light to play competitive cricket, he will be an automatic choice. So the selectors will wait for a few more days,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
The selectors have also made up their minds on who would they pick if Hardik Pandya fails to recover. According to the report, the selectors might look at the hitting prowess of Suryakumar Yadav since the ODIs in New Zealand will be an extension of T20s in the World Cup year. KL Rahul could also return to the Test on the back of his stunning run of form in ODIs and T20Is.
Rahul has been India’s most consistent player in T20s and ODIs but he lost his place in the Test squad after the tour of West Indies. India, meanwhile, have already announced the squad for the five T20Is in New Zealand. The T20I series from January 24 will start the tour of New Zealand.