Hardik Pandya has been touted as India’s ‘next big thing’ given his all-rounder skills. But Team India are considering their options in his absence. Pandya was given rest ahead of the India vs Sri Lanka Test series without his replacement being named. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan out of the side due to personal reasons, India named Vijay Shankar in the squad for Nagpur Test.
With Shankar getting his maiden Test call-up, questions were asked about the selection in the pre-match press conference. Skipper Virat Kohli seemed happy with Shankar’s selection and for bringing him into the fold.
Kohli lauded Shankar’s consistency in the domestic circuit. He said,
Well, he (Shankar) has been very consistent and has earned his spot. We wanted to have a look at another all- rounder keeping in mind this aspect (batsman who bowls medium pace) of the team going forward.
Though Pandya is still the go-to all-rounder for Team India. Kohli added,
Obviously, Hardik is in our scheme of things as first all rounder but we need to find out more people with that kind of ability whom we can groom and make as back ups for all- rounder’s spot when we travel abroad.
Kohli also explained the mindset behind picking Shankar in the squad.
The whole mindset of bringing him and keeping him in the set-up is to make him familiar with what’s going on here and so that he understands what all he needs to work on his game as well.
Kohli drew a few inferences about Shankar after overseeing a few practice sessions.
He is a pretty balanced cricketer. Pretty composed, great fielder, handy with the ball and can easily can give you 10-12 overs a day. He is very solid with the bat of what I saw at the nets today. So big moment for him, he has earned it as I said.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder might just make his debut in the Nagpur Test given the unusual hardness of the pitch. India might go in with another all-rounder and a bowling option.