Is Hardik Pandya good enough to play Test cricket?

Maybe, Hardik Pandya is the latest in the list of Indian cricket’s endless search for a seam-bowling all-rounder in the longer format.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Published:November 2, 2016 5:45 pm
Hardik Pandya, Hardik Pandya India, India Test squad, India England Test squad, Ind vs Eng, Eng vs Ind, Pandya India cricket, India cricket Pandya, Cricket Hardik Pandya made his ODI debut in the recently concluded five-match series against visiting New Zealand. (Source: PTI)

Why Hardik Pandya? The question has to be asked. Why four fast bowlers on Indian dustbowls? The point must be debated.

Yes, injuries to KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar restricted the selectors’ options to some extent. Still, Pandya appears a surprise pick. In 16 first class matches, the Baroda all-rounder has scored 727 runs at 27.96. He is yet to hit a first class hundred and has taken only 22 wickets at 33.72. Is he good enough to play Test cricket?

The MSK Prasad-led selection committee has a logic to back the move. “Pandya’s pace has increased. He is moving the ball. His batsmanship has improved,” the chief selector said at the press conference.

Maybe, the selectors have thought long-term. Maybe, Pandya is the latest in the list of Indian cricket’s endless search for a seam-bowling all-rounder.

MS Dhoni always craved for a seaming all-rounder in the Test team, especially on overseas assignments. Virat Kohli, too, has preferred to incorporate one to strike the right balance. Stuart Binny was flown in to Sri Lanka last year. He had been part of the setup in West Indies this year. Pandya, who at times bowled at 140k during the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand, trumped his nearest rival on form. If the selection committee wants to groom him with an eye to the future, the decision should be accepted.

Also, with Rohit ruled out for the entire five-Test series because of an upper thigh injury, Pandya’s inclusion presents the team management with a choice to pick horses for courses.

Karun Nair is expectedly in the squad as Rohit’s replacement. But if the team management wants to play an extra bowler without compromising on batting depth, Pandya could be called into action. The 15-member squad also has an extra spinner in Jayant Yadav. So the selectors have covered all the bases.

Kohli had opted for two fast bowlers and two spinners against the Kiwis but if he wants to go with three spinners against England, an in-form Amit Mishra is ready to roll his arm. In Yadav, India have a decent off-spin option.

As for selecting four quicks, it has been done keeping in mind the fast bowlers’ dodgy fitness records. About retaining Gautam Gambhir; it became a formality once injury rendered Rahul unavailable.

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  1. S
    Sudhip Kumar
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm
    Better than Hardik Patel as far as ruckus is concerned. A game of gentlemen ???
    Reply
    1. A
      anil chejara
      Nov 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm
      Simple NO!
      Reply
      1. T
        T DUTTA
        Nov 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm
        ON HOME GROUND INDIA SHOULD PLAY WITH 3 SPINNERS AND TO DO THAT ONE PACE BOWLER ALL ROUNDER IS NECESSARY---HARDIK MAY BE TRIED OUT FOR 2 TESTS
        Reply
        1. T
          T DUTTA
          Nov 2, 2016 at 1:07 pm
          SINCE AMIT MISHRA IS IN TREMENDOUS FORM INDIA SHOULD PLAY WITH 3 SPINNERS
          Reply
          1. K
            Karthick
            Nov 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm
            test cricket has been pla in a great way in recent times stan-west Indies England-bangladesh and now getting ready for much bigger action of Australia-south Africa and India-england..lt;br/gt;Overall a good team selection with the players available.lt;br/gt;Kedar Jadhav could be a better replacement for Rohit Sharma over inexperienced Karun Nair but let's see what the future holds for us
            Reply
            1. S
              Sridhar Poosalapati
              Nov 3, 2016 at 12:30 am
              "MS Dhoni always craved for a seaming all-rounder in the Test team" - Irfan Pathan was available and had the talent but Dhoni never backed him up adequately. In his last 5 tests against Australia and South Africa, Pathan averaged 53 with bat and picked up 9 wickets. In his last ODI, he picked up 5 wickets but was not considered good enough in either formats.
              Reply
              1. Y
                YNS
                Nov 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm
                Hardik Pandya will be the 12th man. There is no need to discuss much about him now.
                Reply
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