“Will Hardik Pandya return to Test format?” – Former Indian opening batsman Aakash Chopra answers the recent hot question. Right after his back injury, Hardik struggles a lot to retain his position in the Indian playing 11. A report also states that Hardik is likely to lead the Ahmedabad-based IPL team in IPL 2022.
Will Hardik Pandya return to Test format?
Hardik recently faces a lot of criticism and even misses his spot in the Indian squad. Hardik struggles a lot to get back his fitness and form after his back injury.
During the 2018 Asia Cup league-stage encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan the Indian all-rounder first had his tryst with a back injury. Hardik was stretchered off the field and was out of action for almost 3 months.
The back injury once again surfaced during the 2019 World Cup and even though he completed the tournament, it was clear that something needed to be done. Hardik then underwent successful surgery in London and is expected to retain his form back.
Hardik was also picked for the T20 World Cup 2021 where MS Dhoni was appointed as team mentor, but he did not live up to the expectations as India had an early exit from the marquee event. The Indian selectors faced flak for picking Hardik in the T20 WC squad despite knowing – he cannot bowl and is not 100 percent fit.
Considering these criteria former Indian opening batsman Aakash Chopra said “Never say never. Honestly speaking, Hardik has himself said that he doesn’t want to play, considering the state of his back. To be very honest, if Hardik’s back issue continues to ail him and he doesn’t bowl, then it is very very tough,”.
In his absence, Team India is in search of a fast-bowling all-rounder and Shardul Thakur is the front-runner to grab the spot so far with his performances in red-ball cricket
Hardik has played 11 Test matches so far in which he has claimed 17 wickets while he has scored 532 runs. Meanwhile, Shardul has 24 wickets under his kitty in 6 matches, while he played some crucial knocks with the bat. He has scored 232 runs with the highest score of 67.
“But if he recovers fully, he becomes bowling fit and can bowl the long spells, then Hardik is Hardik,” Chopra further said.
The former India opener said that if Hardik is fit to bowl then he will be ahead of Shardul.
“If you need a fourth fast bowler plus a proper batter, then Hardik Pandya will bring slightly more balance in this team, that is what I believe because the fourth fast bowler you play as one of the five, then his role as a batter is slightly more as compared to him being a bowler.
“So in my opinion, if Hardik remains fit, bowls well and the ability he has with the bat, he will be slightly ahead of Shardul. But till he is not fit, Shardul is destroying everyone,” he said.
Notably, Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar reveals that he already predicted Hardik Pandya would soon face an injury owing to his lean physique.
Hardik Pandya’s performance in IPL 2022 will play a crucial role to retain his all-rounder position in the India squad.