A fortnight ago, Hardik Pandya was receiving his ODI debut cap from Kapil Dev in Dharamsala. And in a week’s time from now, he could well be receiving his Test debut cap as well. The Indian selectors picked the all-rounder from Mumbai in the 15-man squad for the first two Tests against England.
Pandya, who has already played the shorter format of the game, will be celebrating his meteoric rise in international cricket which started last year when debut in the T20Is against Australia.
But amid the news of his maiden call-up, let’s not forget the first full inclusion of off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who has not been named as the a back-up or a stand-by.
The Haryana bowler made his ODI debut in the last match against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam and also picked up a wicket. His first-class record also stands at an impressive 117 wickets from 42 matches. He has picked these wickets at an average of 29.70. Jayant’s strike-rate of 54.5 might need some improvement but his economy rate is an impressive 3.26.
The selection panel picked up four spinners for the first two Tests that gives a clear idea of how the pitches will behave. While R Ashwin will once again spearhead the attack, Ravindra Jadeja will also play a key role in deciding the outcome of the series. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra will hope to get a look-in after not getting a single game in the Zealand series.
India’s bowling will be boosted with the return of Ishant Sharma who returns to the squad after recovering from chikungunya. The pace department will also have Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, who both were impressive in the series against New Zealand.
The bowling attack looks a balanced but a lot will depend on the performance of the spinners in the series. And if R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja re-create their magic, England are in for a tough time.