Hardik Pandya became popular for his hard-hitting batting technics. But of late, he has developed into a pace bowler with swing, precision and rhythm. His batting has remained the same, with the attacking instinct still in-tact. The improvement he has shown with the ball and his natural ability to bat makes him the MOST-WANTED all rounder in Indian cricket. At 23, he has the age on his side. The selectors have rightly included him in the Indian squad for the first two tests against England.
There has always been a need for a fast bowling all-rounder in the Indian team after Irfan Pathan’s oustage from the whites. A fast bowling all-rounder adds depth to the batting and also gives the captain to tinker with the bowling combinations depending on the surface. Hardik Pandya fits the bill perfectly and the selectors have to be applauded for taking on of the most daring decisions in recent times.
Considering that Rohit Sharma is injured and out of action for 2 months, it is the right opportunity to try Hardik. Given that Ashwin can handle the no.6 position effectively, it is a welcome move to include Hardik who can provide the additional batting depth at no.8 and can partner either Shami/Ishant. This is in addition to the fact that the team can afford to have three spinners too.
Let us hope that Hardik utilizes this opportunity and becomes a regular member of the Indian team in whites. The Indian squad for the first two test against England follows:
Virat Kohli (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), R. Ashwin, Wridhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Karun Nair and Jayant Yadav