India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya was picked in Test squad to ready him for ODI series - Source
Speaking to Hindustan Times, sources in the know of developments said that the primary idea was to ensure that Pandya trains under the watchful eyes of the Indian support staff and is a 100 per cent to play in the ODIs after the Test series.cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2019 11:27 IST
The Indian selectors’ decision to pick all-rounder Hardik Pandya for the third and fourth Test of the just concluded series against Australia had raised quite a few eyebrows as he had played just one Ranji Trophy game since recovering from the back injury that saw him limp off in the Asia Cup game against Pakistan. But it has now come to the fore that the move was aimed primarily to keep the player with the national team and ensure that he gets fit in time for the ODI series against Australia.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, sources in the know of developments said that the primary idea was to ensure that Pandya trains under the watchful eyes of the Indian support staff and is a 100 per cent to play in the ODIs after the Test series.
“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 said.
He went on to add that another factor that played a major role in drafting Pandya into the squad was Ravindra Jadeja’s injury and the inability of the Indian tail to wag in the Perth Test, which Australia won by 146 runs.
“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.
Interesingly, speaking to the media ahead of the Boxing Day Test, coach Ravi Shastri had hinted that there was some time before Pandya would be back in the XI. “Pandya coming here gives you an option (of playing five bowlers) but he has not played much first-class cricket. He has just played one game after injury so we have to be very careful before we actually decide whether he plays or not,” Shastri had said.
Luckily, Jadeja had gotten fit by that time and played the third Test at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground which India went on to win the game by 137 runs.
First Published: Jan 08, 2019 11:27 IST