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Hardik Pandya will be an asset in South Africa, England

The decision to rest Hardik Pandya against the Sri Lankans reflects good vision by the Indian national cricket team selectors.

cricket Updated: Nov 10, 2017 22:14 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka. Pandya had scored a Test century against the same opposition earlier this year.
Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka. Pandya had scored a Test century against the same opposition earlier this year. (AFP )

Resting Hardik Pandya for the Sri Lanka Test series has effectively cemented Ravindra Jadeja’s position in the playing XI. Given the (dry) pitches expected to be served in Kolkata, Nagpur and Delhi this time of the year, Pandya would probably have made way for spinners anyway.

The decision to give Pandya a much-needed break again validates the theory that the management doesn’t need to look beyond the pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja when they are playing at home. The same however can’t be said when India go overseas.

With tours of South Africa, England and Australia lined up next year, this decision to rest Hardik Pandya is also about preparing the Baroda all-rounder for the long South Africa tour. The first of the three Test starts January 5 in Cape Town.

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Summer tours of South Africa and England should witness a spike of seam bowling. Pandya provides that extra edge apart from batting at the pivotal No 8 position after Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha.

That not only gives India the batting depth needed on overseas tours but also ensures their bowling strength is in no way compromised. At the onset of his captaincy -- during the tour of Bangladesh in 2015 -- Virat Kohli had made it clear that overseas Tests can’t be won without five bowlers. Pandya’s emergence, incidentally against Sri Lanka, thus gives hope in telling conditions in South Africa and England.

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Hardik Pandya’s services, unlike few others, are needed in all three formats. His workload this year has been astounding. After helping Mumbai Indians win the two-month long Indian Premier League this year, Pandya has practically featured and made his presence felt in every tour, including the ICC Champions Trophy and the ODI series against Australia.

Spending a few weeks at the National Cricket Academy in the lead-up to one of the most important Test series in recent times thus makes sense. It will give Pandya enough time to rebuild his core strength and iron out bowling glitches, if any, to be ready for South Africa in time.

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With such an arduous roadmap outlined for him, Pandya misses out on playing Tests against a team he had fared well on his debut Test tour. He had scores of 50, 20 and 108 earlier this year. But the bigger picture of preserving the best for Tests is served.

The same policy has been implemented in the case of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav with a fair bit of success. Hardik Pandya’s addition to this list only underlines his inflating value.