Hardik Pandya out of ‘full-strength’ India Test squad | Cricket News


Selectors ignore allrounder for WTC final, Test series in England; Kuldeep, Saini dropped
NEW DELHI: For the first time in over a year, the Indian Test team will be at full strength when they travel for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand — followed by the five-Test series in England — next month.
However, allrounder Hardik Pandya missed the bus due to his inability to consistently bowl. On Friday, the selectors picked a squad of 20 players and four standbys for the three-month tour.
Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari and Umesh Yadav are all back in the squad. Kuldeep Yadav has been left out of an entire tour for the first time in four years, putting a big question mark over his future with the Indian team. Navdeep Saini too has been overlooked.
Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna and Gujarat left-arm seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla have been picked as standbys. It is believed that Nagwaswalla will offer good simulation practice to prepare for Trent Boult and Sam Curran.
KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked subject to fitness clearance. While Rahul has undergone an appendicitis surgery last week, Wriddhiman Saha is recovering from Covid-19 infection which he picked up during the IPL last week.
Doubts over Pandya’s bowling career
During the home series against England in March, captain Virat Kohli harped on the need to monitor Pandya’s bowling workload as the team believes he could be crucial to the team’s chances in the English summer. Pandya bowled in five T20Is and one ODI against England in March. He didn’t bowl after that.
“It doesn’t seem he is being able to sustain the load of bowling. He recovered from a back surgery, changed his action but now it’s his shoulder that is bothering him,” a source close to the Indian team management told TOI.
The Indian support staff monitored Pandya even during the four-Test series against England in Feb-March. But it now seems Pandya is struggling to respond to the workload.
“Even Pandya realizes that he is vulnerable if he pushes himself with the ball. He is now focusing a lot more on his batting. The team management understands that with the T20 World Cup coming later in the year, it’s better to give him more time off so that he could be in best shape for the marquee event. He will be used sparingly depending on the match situation,” the source said.
Reality check for Prithvi?
TOI understands that Prithvi Shaw is being served a kind of reality check by the selectors and the team management. The dynamic 21-year-old opening batsman was not even considered as a standby.
Bengal opener Abhimanyu Easwaran has been preferred to be backup for regular openers Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal based on his form in the past two seasons. Prithvi was in red-hot form in Vijay Hazare Trophy and the IPL after getting dropped in Australia in December.
“Prithvi is still very slow across the turf for a 21-year-old. He needs to shed a few more kilos. He also had concentration issues while fielding in Australia. He has been working hard after he returned from Australia. He has the example of Rishabh Pant right in front of him. If Pant can turn things around in a few months, Prithvi too can do it,” the BCCI source said.
“He has to sustain this form for a few more tournaments. He has often been picked on the basis of one good series and then he has struggled in international cricket, He is too good a player to be ignored for long,” the source added.



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