A couple of years back, Hardik Pandya was hailed as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket. But ever since he underwent the surgery to treat his lower back in 2019, the Baroda all-rounder hasn’t been the same.
In the last two years, the hard-hitting all-rounder has made more headlines for his lack of fitness and off-field controversies than his on-field performances. He had already lost his place in the Test team but after a disappointing T20 World Cup, the 28-year-old cricketer was dropped from the limited-overs squad as well for the home series against New Zealand.View this post on Instagram
As much as we blame Hardik for his recent debacle, the national selectors were equally guilty of rushing him too early into the squad which disturbed the whole team balance and was one of the leading factors why India fared so poorly in the T20 World Cup.
The selectors didn’t have the guts to accept that including him in the T20 World Cup squad was a huge mistake but the way they are dealing with his situation now is a clear indication that they have realised that they were wrong. However, it doesn’t look like they have learnt anything from their past mistakes.View this post on Instagram
Having made this mistake already, everybody hoped that they would not want to take a gamble on his physical fitness anymore. But it seems like they are ready to show faith in him once again.
As per a report published in InsideSport, Hardik has been advised to prove his physical fitness at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and if he manages to do that, he would be drafted straightaway into the Indian team for the South Africa tour but only for the limited-overs format.View this post on Instagram
“His recovery from injury will mainly depend on rest. He should be visiting the NCA soon and we will take a call on his inclusion in South Africa tour depending on his fitness,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by InsideSports.
The common consensus is that Hardik’s body is not ready to take the toll of five-day cricket as of now so there is no way he would be part of India’s Test squad for the away series in South Africa.View this post on Instagram
But if he manages to prove his match fitness in time before the squad is announced, there is a high possibility that he could board the flight to South Africa, without having to prove his match form.
Fitness was the major concern for Hadik but it wasn’t the only problem he had. His form was another major factor that made him a villain in the eyes of millions of Indian fans who argued that proving match fitness shouldn’t be the only criteria for him to make a comeback to the side, he should also be asked to prove his form by playing in domestic matches.View this post on Instagram
If he is included without proving his match form, it would be a grave injustice to someone like Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer and other youngsters who often warm the bench despite performing in whatever limited opportunities they get.
Given his fitness concerns, some people even feel that it’s time for India to look beyond Hardik and groom someone like Venkatesh Iyer with the next T20 World Cup in mind, which is less than 12 months away.
Exactly ,, the team should have the fittest and In-form players only— Sanjay Kumar (@sanjaykanted) November 22, 2021
Why are we acting like pandya is second coming of ben stokes or Kallis ?? Average international player. Move on— Daksh (@mufcaddict98) November 22, 2021
Why should Hardik Pandya get a direct entry into the team for an overseas tour without any practice? It's not fair to others.— MS (@connectwithms) November 22, 2021
Don’t take him unless he is fully fit . Can’t risk another World Cup loss .— Praneeth (@Venkatasai85) November 22, 2021
And what about form. He neither fit nor in form. He should prove his fitness and form as well before inclusion— Tejas Adake (@tejas_adake) November 22, 2021
Let him spend some time in Domestic Circuit and earn his spot... What rubbish is this that if he is fit he will be included?
Selectors must learn from their mistakes of T20 WC...
He should take Lifelong rest now
We have Venky
Better to take a rest for good 2,3 years.— Syed Osama Hashmi. (@SyedHashmi28) November 22, 2021
Keep him out. Let him get hungry setting out. Too much has gone into his head of recent. Only show and pomp - no substance.— Indrajit.Ghose (@IndrajitGhose6) November 22, 2021
It’s time for the selectors to learn from their past mistakes and take a tough stance against the all-rounder. By rushing his selection, they would be setting a wrong precedent which could be bad news for Indian cricket.