Mumbai: Indian selectors sprang a surprise on Wednesday as they picked Hardik Pandya for the first two of five Tests against England. Pandya, who made his debut in Australia during India’s three-match T20 series, was recently picked in Team India’s ODI unit against New Zealand.
While the Baroda all-rounder showed promise during the ODI series, his inclusion in the Test squad must have taken many by surprise. In fact, chief selector MSK Prasad said that Hardik, who has been hyper, mellowed down. The all-rounder was a part of India A squad that toured Australia recently.
When the chief selector was asked a lot of question about Pandya’s inclusion in the Test side, he said: "We all know he is a bit hyper. But he has worked hard under Rahul Dravid and under chief coach Anil Kumble."
"If you look at Hardik Pandya, his pace has increased. His overall personality has mellowed down. He did extremely well in the ODI series and also during the A tour Down Under," added Prasad.
India have long been searching for a pace bowling all-rounder who performs consistently. While the team recently tried Stuart Binny in the role, he did not get a consistent run and could not do much when included in the playing XI.
Backing Pandya’s selection, Prasad said, "We all have been trying to find an all-rounder after Kapil Dev. In case we play three spinners, he can be the second seamer and also can bat."
The Virat Kohli-led number one Test team in the world will commence the England series in Rajkot from November 9....