Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya impressed one and all with his impeccable performance in the limited-overs format in the ongoing tour to Australia. His red-hot form has become the talk of the town and several cricketers and fans suggested that India should continue with him in the upcoming four-match Test series for India.
However, the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli made it clear that in order to play in the longest format of the game, Hardik needs to start bowling. After the conclusion of the T20I series, during a virtual press conference, Virat Kohli showered praises on Hardik Pandya and opined that team India needs Hardik to bowl in order to select him for the upcoming tour. He said:
“He’s been outstanding,” He added: “He couldn’t bowl and we knew he’s not going to bowl. But what we saw of him in the IPL, and the headspace that he’s in, you know – you can just see in his game – that he’s wanting to make the team win. But Test cricket is a very different challenge altogether and we need him to bowl. We’ve spoken to him about it.
“We need him to bowl. That’s when he becomes that one guy who brings a lot of balance for us. If you’ve seen our cricket overseas as well, in South Africa and England, we were able to compete for longer periods through Test matches because of the fact that he brought a lot of balance in terms of his bowling. We’ve communicated that to him.”
After making debut in the year 2017, Hardik played 11 Tests for India and he last appeared in England in 2018. With five fifty-plus scores, Hardik averages 31.29 with the bat and 31.05 with the ball.
Talking about his current form, Virat said that he believes Hardik has been the x-factor for the team. He opined that the team has finally found someone who can finish the game for the team. He said:
“He’s definitely in a zone where he wants to get stronger, figure out and iron out all these niggles, and he wants to be able to provide for India with all three disciplines – and that’s always been his X-factor and it will continue to be,” Kohli said. “In white-ball cricket, we’ve found someone who can finish games and consistently. But he himself wants to get back into the bowling space and be available as a pure allrounder in Tests, which becomes way more important. Over five days, you need a little extra from a player in that role. So he understands that and is working really hard to come back.”