Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has recently made a bold confession that he does not deserve a Test recall, effectively ruling himself out of this year’s World Test Championship final against Australia. This news has come as a shock to many, considering the 29-year-old’s impressive track record in Test cricket.
Pandya’s comments came in the wake of Indian captain Rohit Sharma’s statement about the need for a fast-bowling all-rounder for India in English conditions in the WTC final and his praise for Shardul Thakur’s potential role during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pandya stated, “No. I am ethically a very strong person. I haven’t done 10 percent to reach there. I am not even a part of 1 percent. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason, I will not be available for the WTC final or future Test series until I feel that I have earned my spot.”
India’s Test squad is currently plagued with injuries, with paceman Jasprit Bumrah, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, and batter Shreyas Iyer all in doubt for the World Test Championship final. However, a BCCI official confirmed that there has been “no discussion with Hardik regarding Test return yet”.
Pandya’s Record So Far
Pandya made his debut in 2017 and has played 11 Tests for his country since then. One of his most memorable performances came in 2018 when he took a 5-28 against England at Trent Bridge.
His incredible spell included the dismissals of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, and he also ran through the tail with ease. However, the all-rounder has not played any form of first-class cricket since December 2018, mainly due to injuries and white-ball commitments.
It is worth noting that Pandya averages 30.02 with the bat at the first-class level, scoring one century since his debut back in 2013. His medium pace could prove to be a handful in English conditions, while his counterattacking batting style would also be beneficial. He boasts a Test strike rate of 73.88, the second-highest for India in history.
What’s Next for India
Despite his absence from the Test arena, Pandya has cemented himself as a stalwart in India’s one-day teams, playing 71 ODIs and 87 T20Is. In the absence of captain Rohit Sharma, he will also lead his country in the series opener against Australia. The series will be starting at Wankhede Stadium on Friday evening.
The World Test Championship final against Australia is set to take place at The Oval in June. Shane Watson, a former Australian all-rounder, recently called for Pandya to slide back into the Test starting XI if fit. However, Pandya’s response to this suggestion was brutally honest.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the World Test Championship on August 1, 2019, as a league tournament for Test cricket. The championship aims to be the top tournament for Test cricket.
The ongoing ICC World Test Championship, which began on August 4, 2021, is the second edition of the tournament. The final is scheduled to take place at The Oval, London from June 7-11, 2023.