With the Indian Premier League 2023 done and dusted, the focus has now shifted to the Test format, where the world is anxiously waiting for the World Test Championship (WTC final) 2023, which will take place between India and Australia.
Both teams have already kickstarted their preparations for the upcoming summit clash at The Oval which begins from June 7 onwards. Recently, India made a slight change in their squad, where they replaced Ruturaj Gaikwad for Yashasvi Jaiswal in the stand-by list with the original squad remaining untouched.
Meanwhile, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting feels that the selectors have missed a smart trick by missing out on the star all-rounder Hardik Pandya for the one-off game.
Ricky Ponting On Hardik Pandya’s Absence In Test Squad WTC Final
Speaking on The ICC Review, Ricky Ponting pointed towards the impact Hardik can make with his skills. Hardik made a stellar comeback to white-ball cricket ever since his return in June last year and hence Pontint feels that he could have been a useful addition to the red-ball squad as well. He said:
“The other really interesting thing that I thought about the other day for India in this game is how valuable someone like Hardik Pandya could be in a one-off Test match,”
“I know he is on record saying that the Test match game is probably a little bit hard on his body. But for a one-off game… he’s been bowling every game through this IPL and he’s bowling quick.
“He could be that X-factor there just to pick in a one-off game, come in and see what he can do with bat and ball. He could be the difference between the two teams.”
Earlier this year, Hardik was asked about his intention to make a return to the longest format of the game with WTC final 2023 up ahead. Responding to this, though, Hardik didn’t reject the idea but he stated that he would want to earn his spot back rather than take someone else’s place. He had said:
“No. I am ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10% to reach there. I am not even a part of 1%. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be available for the WTC final or future test series until I feel that I have earned my spot,”
Here is India’s squad for the WTC final:
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishan Kishan, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat