Hardik Can’t be in Playing XI If He Can’t Bowl: Sarandeep Singh

·3 min read

Former selector Sarandeep Singh says that Hardik Pandya does not fit into the India playing XI, even in white-ball cricket, if he cannot bowl his quota of overs.

Having undergone a back surgery in 2019 after the ODI World Cup, Hardik has hardly bowled since his comeback.

Sarandeep, whose tenure as India selector was completed after the historic tour of Australia, was surprised that talented Prithvi Shaw did not even make the standbys for the England tour.

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“The selectors’ decision to ignore Hardik for Tests is understandable. He has not been able bowl regularly after his surgery. I feel he has to bowl 10 overs in ODIs and four in T20s to be part of the playing XI even in shorter formats. He can’t just play as a batsman,” Sarandeep was quoted as saying by PTI.

“If Hardik doesn’t bowl, it disturbs the balance of the side hugely. You have to play an extra bowler because of that and someone like Surykumar Yadav has to miss out. As we saw in the ODI series against England and Australia, we can’t play with five bowling options.

“Then team now has other all-rounders in Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Jaddu is back, Shardul Thakur can also be an all-rounder, he has shown that. They all can do the job if Hardik can’t bowl.”

Batting for Shaw, Sarandeep said it is way too early to sideline a batsman like him. Not just Shaw, the former selector wasn’t happy that the likes of Priyank Panchal and Devdutt Padikkal did not get a look in.

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“He has the potential to do what Sehwag did for India. You can’t sideline him so early in his career. He has scored tons of runs in domestic cricket after being dropped post Australia tour. He has corrected his technical flaws also and look how he played in the IPL.

“You have to back a talent like Shaw and even someone like Shubman Gill (he is in the team but did not gets runs against England at home) for that matter.”

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The four standbys picked for the UK tour are opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, pacers Avesh Khan, Prasid Krishna and Arzan Nagwaswalla.

“Priyank Panchal got a hundred for India A in New Zealand. You have not picked him. You have not picked Devdutt Padikkal who also scored tons of runs. For the left-arm pacer’s slot, I fail to understand why Jaydev Unadkat is being ignored.

“He picked 67 wickets (a record) in the last Ranji Trophy and a lot of them came on the flat track of Rajkot,” added Sarandeep.

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