His last first-class outing was in December 2018.

Because of his back injury issues, Pandya hasn’t played Test cricket or even first-class cricket for more than 4 years.

In absence of Pandya

India have had to play Shardul Thakur on the tours of England and South Africa - and Thakur has done well, playing his part by giving crucial breakthroughs, including a 7-fer in SA, and scoring crucial lower-order runs, but he’s no Pandya.

Last series in England

India had to play Thakur as the seam-bowling all-rounder and benched R Ashwin with Jadeja, the spin-bowling all-rounder.

Hardik Pandya will not return to Test cricket until June

Now, with the recent announcement from the BCCI of the squads for the 2 Tests at home against Australia, wherein Hardik Pandya wasn’t named, the BCCI has tacitly hinted that Pandya won’t be returning to the longest format of the game anytime soon, despite him doing terrifically in white-ball cricket in the past year and also bowling regularly.

Pandya is not named in the squad for the Australia series

It also confirms that should India reach the World Test Championship final, slated for June to be played at The Oval, India won’t include Pandya there too. This further will create a dilemma for India whether they’d want to go with Ashwin, the veteran spinning all-rounder or Thakur, the seamer who can bat a bit.

Pandya will be the new T20I skipper

It is already an important part of both the white-ball teams, so to manage his workload and keep him fit and fresh for the two white-ball formats, Pandya is unlikely to return to Test cricket this year.

India’s Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia

Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.