India all-rounder Hardik Pandya said he is not focussing too much on what is going to happen in the future when asked whether he is thinking of returning to play Test cricket for India. Hardik said he won’t play if he is not ready to give 100 percent to the team and that he never looks to take someone else’s place in the side.
Hardik Pandya has not played Test cricket since September 2018 as he was dealing with persistent back injury issues over the last few years. However, Hardik’s return to peak form in the shortest format of the game after a dream run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 has opened up possibilities of the star all-rounder returning in whites.
Notably, Hardik did not bowl in the IPL for Mumbai Indians in 2021 and 2020 and was cautious with his bowling plans even when playing for India due to back injury issues. However, the Baroda all-rounder took a lengthy break after last year’s T20 World Cup to recover from the injury woes.
Hardik timed his comeback well as he returned only for IPL 2022 even as questions were asked of his absence. Hardik led Gujarat Titans to IPL 2022 title in his first stint as captain of an IPL team, scoring heavily with the bat for the new franchise. Hardik translated the form into international cricket as she shone against South Africa in 5 T20Is at home before he was rewarded with captaincy during a 2-match T20I series in Ireland in June.
“Right now, I am not thinking much about what we will be playing in the future. I want to make sure that I am available for as many games as possible for India,” Hardik told the press after India’s victory in Southampton.
“This is a white-ball season, big World Cups are coming, and the focus is more on white-ball. I now believe that the more I play white-ball cricket for India this season, it’s good. When the opportunity to play Test comes, definitely… but only time will tell what I should play and what I shouldn’t. But now I am focusing on giving 100 percent whenever I can,” he added.
“If I can play as a 100 percent cricketer, I will play. If I can’t, then I won’t. I will not take someone else’s place,” he added.
ALL-ROUNDER HARDIK SHINES
On Thursday, Hardik came up with a match-winning effort as he became the first Indian to hit a fifty and pick up a 4-wicket haul in T20Is. Hardik’s all-round effort saw India hammer England by 50 runs and take a 1-0 lead in a 3-match T20I series in Old Blighty.
India posted 198 on the board and bowled out Jos Buttler’s England side for 148 as Rohit Sharma registered his 13th successive victory as India’s T20I captain.
“It’s always good to perform when your team requires and then your team wins. Understanding the situation, what my team requires is what I am looking to do,” Hardik added.
“I would want to give equal importance to both performances (Batting and bowling) because that 50 was also important. We lost wickets but at the same time, we kept the momentum and posted a respectable total,” he added.
— ENDS —