Source reveals why Hardik Pandya was recalled to the Test squad in Australia
Hardik Pandya was a surprise addition to the Indian Test squad for the recently-concluded series in Australia. Pandya was nursing a back injury he sustained in the Asia Cup when the selectors announced the Test squad. He didn’t make a cut when the initial squad was announced for the four, however, he was recalled to the side for the last two matches in Melbourne and Sydney. Hardik didn’t get a game but did train with the team while preparing for the games.
The recall came after Pandya impressed in his Ranji Trophy comeback for Baroda. He started the match by taking his maiden five-wicket haul in the competition before scoring 73 with the bat. The all-rounder went on to pick two more wickets to convince the selectors. He was immediately flown into Australia and joined the Test squad. But what raised a lot of eyebrows was the fact that when the team didn’t need him, why was he recalled.
Reason for selection
A source in the know of the development has now revealed why Pandya was added to the Test squad. Speaking to Hindustan Times, the source said that the 24-year-old was added to the team so that he could train under the watchful eyes of the Indian support staff and prepare for the ODIs.
“If you realise, Baroda wasn’t playing a game for 16 days since the match against Mumbai from December 14. While it is true that he had played just one game since returning from injury, the team management thought that it was best to have him around the team to ensure that he is fully recovered by the time the ODI series gets underway on January 12. The level of training and prepping goes a level higher when you are with the national team and under the watchful eyes of the Indian trainers,” the source was quoted on HT.
The source further said that another factor that played a major role in drafting Pandya into the squad was Ravindra Jadeja’s injury and the poor performance of India’s lower-order in the second Test.
“While Pandya played one domestic game, he did show that he was in fine form as he picked a fifer and also scored 73 runs in an innings. So, with the tail failing to stand ground in the Perth game and Jadeja still needing some time to be a 100 per cent, it was felt that Pandya would bring some stability to the batting order if he needs to play. He would then be used as a batting all-rounder who would maybe bowl around 10 or 15 overs in a day,” he explained.
Well, Pandya will be looking to hit the ground running when he finally makes his international comeback. The three-match ODI series against Australia gets underway on January 12 in Sydney. Following the series, India will fly to New Zealand for five ODIs and three T20Is. Pandya is a part of both the squads.