All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been picked in India’s Test squad for the first time with his name being included in the 15-man squad for the upcoming England series which is for the first two Test matches. With no like-for-like replacement for an injured Rohit Sharma, this could mean a debut for either him or Karun Nair unless India go in for five specialist bowlers.
Pandya used social media to thank everyone for his selection. “To be part of the Indian Test squad is a dream come true for me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters, family members & the selectors for having faith in me,” he wrote on Twitter.
Pandya’s inclusion in the team comes as a surprise for some with not much experience under the belt for the Baroda player who has played just 16 first-class matches and has picked 22 wickets at an average of 33. However, he has been a mainstay in the limited over contests having played four ODIs and 16 T20 internationals. He’s also featured in the World T20 where India lost in the final to West Indies. He was also man of the match on his ODI debut against New Zealand with a 3/31 to his name at Dharamsala.
Besides being a nifty addition to the squad with his all-round show, Pandya is every captain’s dream in the field too with his desire to push himself to save an extra run and go the extra mile for difficult chances.
MSK Prasad, chief selector, justified the selection having seen his progress since India A’s tour of Australia.
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“Pandya’s pace has increased, he is moving the ball, his batsmanship has improved,” Prasad said. “And he has mellowed down as a person. He is one allrounder we thought is an equally competent bowler and batsman. And a good fielder too.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters, family members & the selectors for having faith in me.✌️️#INDvENG
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) 2 November 2016
“Rahul Dravid has worked hard on the mental side of his game. Now Anil Kumble is guiding him. We have three allrounders – Stuart Binny, Hardik Pandya, Rishi Dhawan. In this particular series, he scores ahead of Binny. Much quicker and better bowler than Stuart. With form and fitness, Hardik is a better option.”