Does Hardik Pandya Deserve A Spot In Indian Test Team?
The national selectors sprung quite a few surprises when they announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming Test series against England and Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in the team tops them all.
The Baroda all-rounder has been tipped by many as the one who can end India’s long search for a quality all-rounder ever since the retirement of the legendary Kapil Dev. The likes of Sanjay Bangar, Irfan Pathan started promisingly but then became one of the many who failed to end India’s desperate search for a fast bowling all-rounder. Well, it seems that the selectors have learnt from their mistake in the past and are willing to give another rising all-rounder an extended run to prove himself.
The 23-year old was a revelation in the 2015 season of IPL when his ability to trouble the batsmen with his fast bowling and the ability to hit some lusty blows grabbed the eyeballs. He deservedly got a spot in the squad for the T20 series in Australia this year. He was retained in the team for the Asia Cup and World T20 that followed. While he gave a glimpse of his immense potential on few occasions, consistency has been his nemesis so far. He lost his place in the team after the World T20 and his poor form continued in the IPL too. But the selectors’ decision to include him in the India A squad for the Australia tour was an indication that the cricket administrators are keeping a keen eye on him. It was further strengthened when he was selected in the squad for India’s ODI series against New Zealand.
Well, his selection in the limited-overs format can be justified with his exploits in the limited-overs format in the past. However, his credentials to claim a spot in the Test team that too at a time when the team is ruling the roost in the longest format of the game leaves a lot to be desired. The selectors are undoubtedly giving him a long rope to prove himself but it seems, it is still too early to hand him the white jersey. At least his stats say so. In the ODI series Down Under with the ‘A’ team, he failed miserably as he could score only 47 runs in five innings. In favourable conditions, he could pick only five wickets in seven matches which raise a lot of doubt over whether he will be able to justify his selection in the team or not. In the two-match unofficial Test series, he scored 86 runs including a fighting knock of 79 runs which was the only bright spot for him on the tour.
Only time will tell whether his inclusion in the team was a correct decision or not but for the time being he did not deserve a spot in the world number one Test team.
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