Hardik Pandya Test comeback: The Indian all-rounder’s last Test appearance had come more than two years ago in England.
India batsman Hardik Pandya justified his position of a specialist batsman in the recently concluded white-ball leg of India’s tour of Australia. In six white-ball innings, Pandya scored 288 runs at an average and strike rate of 72 and 123.60 respectively which included a career-best 92* (76) in the third ODI at the Manuka Oval.
Pandya, who normally plays the role of an all-rounder, bowled a total of four overs throughout the tour as his bowling workload continued to be monitored after a back surgery.
“He’s been outstanding. He couldn’t bowl and we knew he’s not going to bowl. But what we saw of him in the IPL, and the headspace that he’s in, you know – you can just see in his game – that he’s wanting to make the team win,” India captain Virat Kohli said of Pandya after the third T20I in Sydney yesterday.
Natarajan, you were outstanding this series. To perform brilliantly in difficult conditions on your India debut speaks volumes of your talent and hardwork 👏 You deserve Man of the Series from my side bhai! Congratulations to #TeamIndia on the win 🇮🇳🏆 pic.twitter.com/gguk4WIlQD
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) December 8, 2020
Hardik Pandya Test comeback
Pandya, who will now return back to India for he’s not part of the Test squad, had last played in cricket’s ancestral format during India’s tour of England in 2018. Being asked about wanting to convert Pandya’s white-ball form into red-ball, Kohli made it a point for Pandya to resume bowling to be part of the Test XI.
“But Test cricket is a very different challenge altogether and we need him to bowl. We’ve spoken to him about it. We need him to bowl. That’s when he becomes that one guy who brings a lot of balance for us.
“If you’ve seen our cricket overseas as well, in South Africa and England, we were able to compete for longer periods through Test matches because of the fact that he brought a lot of balance in terms of his bowling. We’ve communicated that to him,” Kohli said.
Pandya, who had originally made a comeback into the ODI team for (the then postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic) South Africa ODIs at home in March, represented India after more than a year in this series after a stint for champions Mumbai Indians in the 13th season of the Indian Premier League.