Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has made a comeback to the Test squad for the forthcoming Test series against England starting February 5 in Chennai. However, his participation in the playing XI remains in doubt and former cricketer Deep Dasgupta believes Hardik will not be a part of the first tie.
Hardik Pandya has struggled with a back injury since 2019 which saw him refrain from bowling ever since he returned to action. In the recently-concluded series against Australia, he just bowled in one match and also revealed that he wants to take some time before resuming full-time bowling. As a result, Hardik was also left out of the Test squad against Australia.
Hardik Pandya will not be in the playing XI – Deep Dasgupta
However, he has been named in the squad for the first two matches but experts believe he hardly will get game time. Deep Dasgupta also echoed the same voices and stated that Hardik Pandya has been included to get him a hang of red-ball cricketer since there is no domestic cricket happening.
“One of the reasons he is there is because there is not much domestic cricket happening right now and whatever has been announced is predominantly white-ball cricket. Hardik Pandya becomes very, very important when we start travelling outside.
“At home, you might not feel his importance as much because you have a spinning all-rounder in Ashwin, Jadeja will be back, Washington Sundar is in, Axar is there but his importance increased 10 folds when you start travelling,” Deep Dasgupta was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda.
However, Deep Dasgupta believes Hardik Pandya will play a big role if India make it to the ICC World Test Championship final scheduled to take place in England later this year. Virat Kohli & Co will have to beat England at least 2-0 or better to seal a date with New Zealand in the summit clash.
“There is a huge England series coming up, there is a very, very good chance of India qualifying for the World Test Championship finals, that’s where I think Hardik Pandya will be very important. I think his inclusion in the squad is to make sure that his progress is monitored as a bowler.
“So, I don’t think we will see him in the first Test but I think he is there for a very specific reason, to monitor his progress as an all-rounder, as a bowler,” Dasgupta concluded.