Former Australian batsman and current Cricket pundit Ian Chappell opined that to bolster the Indian Test squad for their tour Down Under later this year, Hardik Pandya needs to be included.
According to the former batting great, Pandya will provide an additional bowling option for India and depth in the batting. He wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo, “It will help if Hardik Pandya is available. He gives India an extra bowling option to maintain the pressure when the leading fast bowlers need a rest.”
“This is Pandya’s chance to gradually build up overs in the three Tests before the SCG match, where he could act as the third seamer so that a second spinner can be included. Having Pandya at seven would necessitate Rishabh Pant keeping and batting at six,” he wrote.
Hardik Pandya hasn’t played Test Cricket since September 2018, but has cemented his place as a big-hitting all-rounder in the limited overs formats. At the moment he is recovering from the back injury he suffered from in the 2018 Asia Cup at the United Arab Emirates, which needed a surgery last year.
Hardik recently spoke to Harsha Bhogle in an interview on Cricbuzz, in which he said, “I see myself as a back-up seamer for sure. After my back surgery, I don’t know, playing Test cricket right now will be a challenge. If I was a Test player and didn’t have the game in white ball cricket, I could go now and risk my back in Tests but I know my importance in white ball cricket. It has happened that I played Tests and then didn’t do well in ODIs and T20Is because my plus point is my energy.”
Chappell then proceeded to write about the selection conundrums regarding the Indian spinners. He wrote, “Choosing a spinner will prove a major headache for the Indian selectors. R Ashwin has a great overall record, but not so much in Australia. Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round talents and improved bowling form make him a legitimate challenger, while Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist-spin is the biggest wicket-taking threat on Australian pitches. The decision will call for brave selections.”
According to Chappell, India’s biggest challenge in the Test series this time will be ‘navigating through a strong Australian batting line-up, which now doesn’t rely too heavily on David Warner and Steve Smith’.