Mumbai: Baroda all-rounder Hardik Pandya is one unlucky cricketer. Had everything fallen into places, he would have made his Test debut by now. But it has been further postponed as India’s surprise entrant into the Test squad was ruled out of the series against England due to an injury to his right shoulder during practice sessions at the PCA stadium, Mohali.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) medical staff has advised him to “consult a specialist to decide on the future course of action.” No replacement was named by the board in its media release. Pandya becomes the second player to get injured at the nets. Earlier, KL Rahul had to miss out after hurting his left forearm.
Pandya was included in the Test squad after his impressive performance in ODIs and T20s since his debut earlier this year, providing an all-round option to Indian Test captain Virat Kohli. Though, his inclusion raised eyebrows in the cricketing circuit, but the National selectors had hopes pinned on him. Pandya’s performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Mumbai Indians earned him a spot in the Indian squad for truncated versions of the game.
Pandya has played 16 first-class matches, scoring 727 runs at 27.96 with a best of 90 and 22 wickets at 33.72, with a solitary five-wicket haul. India’s injury streak continues after Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha and now Hardik Pandya.
The good news though is that Rahul is expected to be fully fit before the fourth Test in Mumbai. After aggravating his knee injury, Rahul was left out of the team for the Mohali Test. The fourth Test will begin on December 8 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Team India already has R Ashwin chipping in with both the bat and the ball. But Pandya’s skills as a medium pacer and his capabilities with the willow would sound good news for India when it travels overseas.