As the selectors announced an 18-member squad for the limited-overs series against West Indies, the absence of Hardik Pandya once again raised a few eyebrows. Venkatesh Iyer will continue to be groomed for the role of a seam-bowling all-rounder. Iyer made his debut in the home series against New Zealand right after the World Cup.
Interestingly Venkatesh Iyer was selected for the ODI series against South Africa but since he didn’t make his chances count in the 50-over format, he was dropped from the squad against West Indies but he is likely to get more opportunities in the shortest format.
Hardik Pandya will captain the Ahmedabad franchise in IPL 2022
In South Africa, the lack of seam bowling all-rounder hurt India big time as they failed to find the right combo to give them enough batting depth. As a result of that Ashwin and Thakur had to bat at no.7 as Venkatesh Iyer’s bowling doesn’t impress enough to trust him for 10 overs.
According to a report in the Times Of India, the selectors spoke to Hardik Pandya before announcing both the squads as the all-rounder wasn’t fully sure about his bowling workload so selectors decided to wait further. Selectors asked him to prove his match fitness, in order to be considered for the national team again. Since all the domestic tournaments have been postponed due to Covid-19, Hardik can prove his fitness only in IPL now which is likely to start in the last week of March.
Apart from the series against West Indies, India will host Sri Lanka before IPL for a series of 2 Test matches and 3 T20Is. Post-IPL, India will host a 5-match T20I series against South Africa.
Notable that Hardik Pandya was criticized heavily for his lacklustre performance in the T20 World Cup where he didn’t bowl much and also couldn’t contribute much in the crucial matches against Pakistan and New Zealand. Also, he didn’t bowl a single over in the last two seasons of IPL for Mumbai Indians.
However, in this season, he will captain the newly inducted Ahmedabad franchise as he was signed for ₹15 Crores ahead of the auction along with Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill.