Hardik Pandya has expressed surprise at being named in the Test squad for the upcoming England series, saying that it is his dream to don the Test cap. Pandya, who made his ODI debut last month against the Kiwis, will become India’s 286th Test player if he is picked in the XI in Rajkot on Nov 9.
"It came as a big surprise. There is no cricketer, at any level, who doesn't dream of representing India in the whites. I'm no different. I have immense respect for all the formats that I've played in, but this is so special. Wasn't really expecting this," Baroda all-rounder Pandya said on being named in the 15-man squad for the opening two Tests of the five-match series.
The 23-year-old came into the limelight during the Twenty20 World Cup earlier this year when he bowled a brilliant last over against Bangladesh to win the match for India by a single run. However, he was not selected for the subsequent tour of Zimbabwe and his confidence began to wane. With India resting some key players after the New Zealand Test series, Pandya was called up to the ODI team for the first time and he did not disappoint, picking up the man of the match award on debut.
"It's such an exciting feeling. I'm naturally inclined towards taking things head on," Pandya said of his aggressive attitude.
About his overzealous celebrations, he said, “I respect the spirit of the game and believe that it should be played in the right manner. Having said that, aggression is also something that comes naturally to me.
It (aggression) helps me do things better."
Pandya also spoke of the impact India A coach Rahul Dravid had on him during the tour of Australia. "We were talking about what is a natural game. He (Dravid) said that there is no such thing called a natural game. It is just that in cricket you play according to the situation, and you win the games,” he said.