India’s flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been a huge miss for the Indian cricket team in recent times. The cricketer has been suffering from a back issue, which is not getting any better with time. Because of the same, his performance has also gone on to drop in the white-ball format.
Now in a big development, Hardik is considering retiring from the longest format of the game due to the back injuries that have kept him out of the bowling action. If reports are to be believed then Pandya wants to focus on white-ball cricket and IPL. The cricketer has already informed the BCCI about his desire to retire from the Test format, however, an official statement is yet to come.
It was in 2018 when Hardik played his last Test match in England and since then he has been out of action in Test cricket. The cricketer will be absent from the upcoming tour to South Africa as well.
“He has been struggling with injuries for a while and although he hasn’t informed us officially, he is considering Test retirement. It will help him keep his focus on white-ball cricket. He was anyway not in our plans for Tests. It will be a great loss for sure but we have to prepare backup,” a top BCCI official told InsideSport.
Hardik, who went through back surgery last year, has failed to find his form back. He has failed to give consistent performances with the bat and hasn’t bowled much. In entire IPL 2020 and 2021, he wasn’t seen bowling. Though he returned to action with the ball during England series at home, but he failed to leave any mark.
“He is just 28 and it is definitely going to be a big miss if he does take a final call on quitting Test cricket. He has been one of the best all-rounders India could ever produce. But we need all-rounder Hardik back in limited-overs with two World Cups in the next two years. His return to bowling will be more important,” the BCCI official told InsideSport.
In his absence, Shardul Thakur has impressed one and all with his stunning performances both with the bat and the ball. Thakur and Venkatesh Iyer are being groomed to take the full-time all-rounder roles.
“We obviously need backups and it has been discussed with the team management and the selectors. Shardul is one but there is also Venkatesh Iyer who is being groomed for T20s. We will have to look for other options as well,”
Meanwhile, in Hardik’s absence, Shardul Thakur is expected that he will be part of the Indian squad for the South Africa tour.