After a lengthy injury layoff, Hardik Pandya will return to action when he tours New Zealand later this month with India A. The allrounder has not played international cricket since the T20I series against South Africa in September, and underwent back surgery in London in October.
Hardik Pandya 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. India will play two Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs. The T20I series will kickstart the tour on January 24.
On the other hand, the three-match one-day game series between India A and New Zealand will start on January 22. The two unofficial Tests will start on January 30 and February 7 respectively.
Shivam Dube to be dropped:
While it is being expected that Hardik Pandya could make his much-awaited return to international cricket through the New Zealand series, he might be back in national squad sooner than expected. As per a report in Mumbai Mirror, he is also in scheme of things for the Australia ODIs which start next week.
India, who are currently hosting Sri Lanka for a three-match T20I series, will host Australia for a three-match ODI series before flying out to New Zealand. The report claimed that Hardik Pandya is expected to return to India’s T20I and ODI teams in New Zealand although there is no clarity on his chances of making it to the Test side.
In that scenario, Shivam Dube is likely to make way for Hardik Pandya in the T20I team. Shivam Dube earned his maiden call-up for the T20I team for the Bangladesh series and retained his spot in the team for the West Indies series as well as the ongoing series against Sri Lanka.
In seven T20Is, Dube has scored 64 runs at a strike rate of 152.38. He was promoted to bat at number three in the second T20I against West Indies and the left-handed batsman made most out of the opportunity by scoring 54 off 30. During the Bangladesh series, Dube had also turned the game in India’s favour with three wickets in the third T20I but all this might not see him keep his spot.
Hardik Pandya is India’s preferred allrounder and the team-management will be desperate to have him in the team as soon as possible. The squad for the tour of New Zealand is set to be announced on January 12 and it remains to be seen if Pandya walks into the ODI team for Australia series as he was not named in the original squad.