'Ask him why he is not playing Ranji Trophy': Chetan Sharma says comeback for India star only if he is '100 per cent fit
Chairman Chetan Sharma has said that only the player knows why he chose not to play the Ranji Trophy this season and the selection committee will consider him for a comeback into the Indian team only if it is convinced that he is fully fit.
Chairman of selection committee Chetan Sharma on Saturday reiterated the importance that it has given to performances the Ranji Trophy while naming the Indian squads for the upcoming T20I and Test series against the Sri Lanka. A notable absentee from both squads, particularly the T20I team, was all-rounder Hardik Pandya, and Sharma said that the committee would consider him for a comeback only if it is convinced that he is fully fit and bowling consistently.
Pandya, who was named captain of the newly former Gujarat Titans ahead of their debut season in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has given the Ranji Trophy a miss this season. While he was a regular in all formats for India, frequent bouts with injuries has curtailed Pandya's ability to bowl and he has not played a Test match since September 2018.
“Hardik was definitely a very important part of the Indian team. After these injuries I would say that when we are convinced that he is 100 per cent match fit, ready to go and if he is bowling, he will definitely be considered,” Sharma told reporters on Saturday.
He was not part of the Indian team that faced the West Indies in an ODI series recently or in the ongoing T20I series and with his absence in the squad to face Sri Lanka, it is likely that Pandya will play competitive cricket only in the 2022 IPL for the first time since the 2021 T20 World Cup last year.
“You can ask Hardik why he is not playing Ranji Trophy. We are looking at those who are playing Ranji Trophy and performing there. So we feel happy to watch the competition and see the boys perform,” said Sharma.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma was announced as India's Test captain following the resignation of Virat Kohli from the position. Rohit will be making a return to Tests after over five months, having last donned the whites in September during the away series in England. He was included in the Test side for the South Africa tour but was forced to miss the series due to a hamstring injury.