Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has hinted towards Hardik Pandya’s inclusion as an all-rounder in the Test squad for the upcoming bilateral series against Joe Root’s England on Wednesday. After raising hopes of extending his stay for high-profile Test series between India and Australia, all-rounder Pandya had returned home following the conclusion of the twin-limited overs series last year.
Dubbed as one of the finest all-rounders in the modern era, Pandya had successfully essayed the finisher’s role against the mighty Aussies in India’s recently concluded tour Down Under. Though Pandya played no role in India’s historic Test series triumph on Australian soil, vice-captain Rahane has opened up about the all-rounder’s selection for the four Tests against the Root-led side.
Speaking in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Rahane was asked if Pandya has resumed bowling for the Virat Kohli-led side in the nets. Kohli’s deputy was also quizzed about Axar Patel’s call up to the Indian Test side after a noteworthy domestic season. While responding to the query about both the all-rounders, Rahane said that the Indian think will take a final call about the combination for the 1st Test on Thursday.
“I’m not to tell about Hardik Pandya. He is in the squad and he is working really hard on his game – as a bowler and also as a batsman. About Axar, as I said that we are going to take a call tomorrow about what will be our combination for this game. So yeah, you have to wait and see,” Rahane said in the virtual presser.
Pandya had received plaudits for showcasing his batting exploits against Aaron Finch’s Australia in the tour Down Under. The Indian all-rounder was briefly roped in as India’s sixth bowler in the Australia series. Pandya had also removed an in-form Steve Smith in the 2nd One Day International (ODI) of the three-match series.
Pandya had asserted that he is working on his bowling return at the time. “I am looking at a long-term goal where I want to be 100% of my bowling capacity for the most important games,” Pandya had said.