Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)

Wasim Jaffer, the former Indian opener and full-time cricket pundit has explained why all-rounder Hardik Pandya is far away from getting into the Test circuit. All-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead Team India in the two-match T20I series against Ireland. India will meet Ireland in the series opener on Sunday.

Even though Hardik Pandya is on his way to becoming indispensable to the white-ball squad of Team India, former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer still believes the star all-rounder is far from making a return into the longest and oldest format of the game. Hardik Pandya made a sensational return to the T20I side of the Rahul Dravid-coached Team India after a title-winning season with debutants Gujarat Titans (GT) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

Hardik Pandya with Rahul Dravid Photo : AP
Hardik Pandya with Rahul Dravid Photo: AP

Wasim Jaffer Doesn’t See Hardik Pandya Returning To Test Fold Anytime Soon

Hardik Pandya will lead the second-string side of India in the absence of skipper Rohit Sharma, ex-captain Virat Kohli and injured opener KL Rahul during the ongoing Ireland tour. Under the leadership of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, the Rishabh Pant-less side will play two T20Is against Ireland.

Speaking ahead of the first T20I between India and hosts Ireland, former cricketer Wasim Jaffer explained why he doesn’t see Hardik Pandya making a return to red-ball cricket soon. During a discussion, Wasim Jaffer was asked whether Hardik Pandya can return to Test cricket after becoming one of strong India’s captaincy candidates in white-ball cricket.

“Hardik bowling 15 to 18 overs a day, you don’t see that happening [due to] the kind of back-surgery he had. Will he bat at four or five? I don’t see that happening in red-ball cricket,” Jaffer said.

Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter
Wasim Jaffer. Image Credits: Twitter

“So in that sense, he’s far away from getting into the red-ball circuit. So I think if we just leave him bowling four overs or at max 10 overs in One-Dayers and batting at four, five, or six, it will help him prolong his career,” the former Indian opener added. 

For the Ireland T20Is, India is missing regulars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja who all are currently in England preparing for the Birmingham Test starting on July 1. These two matches against Ireland therefore might be the last opportunity to try out youngsters ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Hardik Pandya Has Featured In 11 Tests After Debuting In 2016

Hardik Pandya, who made his international debut in 2016, has played 11 Test matches for Team India. Hardik Pandya last played a Test match for India during the 2018 tour of England. The star all-rounder has featured in 63 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 59 T20Is for India.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya (Credits: AFP)

Before the recently-concluded series against South Africa, Hardik Pandya had last played for Team India in the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE. In the last series against South Africa, Hardik Pandya had scored 117 runs but he was not able to take a single wicket with the ball in hand. In IPL 2022, Hardik Pandya had scored 487 runs with the bat and he also managed to take eight wickets, out of which three came in the final against Rajasthan Royals.