India are all set to play a four-match Test series in Australia with the first Test to be played from December 3 at Gabba in Brisbane. Despite the series still a few months away, the excitement is already at its high and there are a lot of discussions taking place on what team combination should India go ahead with. Would India go with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal as openers, or would KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma also be in the mix for the same positions? Would it be Wriddhiman Saha as wicketkeeper or Rishabh Pant? Do all allrounders R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja fit into the team together?
There are way too many questions regarding team combination that needs to be sorted out but luckily for the Indian team, there is plenty of time at hand to figure things out. Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra, though, feels that Pandya and Jadeja might find it hard to find a place in the playing XI in the Test series.
Aakash Chopra, the former Indian cricketer, reckons that Hardik Pandya would find it tough to make India’s squad for the Test series in Australia. Pandya last played in the format back when Virat Kohli and Co toured England in 2018. But since then, he has been pegged back by injuries. Though he has played ODI and T20Is for the Men in Blue, he hasn’t cemented his Test spot just yet.
Back in 2017 during his maiden series against Sri Lanka, he smashed a century and also picked a five-wicket haul versus the Brits. Apart from that, he hasn’t found it easy in the format by any means. Chopra feels that Pandya’s back injury may not allow him to make a Test comeback just yet. Moreover, he said that chances of Ravindra Jadeja’s selection also aren’t bright.
“I feel neither of them might play. That is a very strong possibility. Because I feel that Hardik Pandya making it to the Test team doesn’t look possible to me currently,” Chopra was quoted as saying in Sportskeeda.
“That is because he has a back injury, he has not started bowling, he has not played ODIs, he might play T20s but will you play him in Tests after playing in the IPL,” he stated.
“Is he ready for Tests and does he want to play Tests currently? First thing first, I do not envisage Hardik Pandya playing the first Test match in Australia. That is what I feel,” Chopra added.
Pandya hasn’t played any international cricket since India’s T20I series against South Africa last year. During this while, Shivam Dube filled in for the pace bowling all-rounder’s slot. Hardik was picked for the three-match ODI series against the Proteas back in March.
But after an abandoned match in Dharamsala, the series had to be called off as the coronavirus pandemic was in full flow. Hardik was set to play for Mumbai Indians in the IPL as well, but the tournament had to be postponed indefinitely.
As far as India’s Test in Australia is concerned, it is scheduled to get underway on December 3 with the opening Test at The Gabba in Brisbane. Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney are the hosts for the remaining three matches.