Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh believes all-rounder Hardik Pandya would have strengthened the playing XI further ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston in Birmingham, starting on July 1. Hardik, who recently made a comeback in international cricket, has not been considered the red-ball leg. Shardul Thakur, who has been with the squad for quite some time now, has been picked as the fast bowling all-rounder.
Meanwhile, Hardik was assigned the leadership role for the two-match T20I series against Ireland. The young all-rounder led the side from the front as the Men in Blue whitewashed the hosts. Harbhajan feels the Surat-born cricketer should’ve been included in the squad for the England assignment too.
“I feel India should have included Hardik Pandya. It’s only one match and seamers are expected to do well in England. Yes, Shardul Thakur has done a good job but if Hardik Pandya is there in the team, it would be really good. The batting then gets a big boost and the bowling department also gets some cover,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Sportskeeda.
So far, Hardik Pandya has featured in 11 Tests and has scored 532 runs, including one century and four fifties. He has picked up 17 wickets, including a five-wicket haul.
Hardik Hasn’t featured for India in the whites since 2018. The all-rounder has had a few fitness issues, especially with the back that has been troubling him for a long time. Though the 28-year-old has returned in the capacity of an all-rounder in white-ball cricket, he might have to further prove his fitness before making a red-ball return.
India have the talent to win this match – Harbhajan Singh
As far as India’s Test in Edgbaston against England is concerned, Harbhajan Singh has backed the Indian team to emerge victorious.
“It’s a big game without doubt. England have a new team led by Ben Stokes. But, they have a lot to prove. On the other hand, India have a great chance to win a series in England after many years. India have the talent to win this match. It will be a big series win, if they achieve it,” he concluded.