Indian cricket team’s coach Anil Kumble has backed Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in the Test squad, stressing on the importance of having an all-rounder ahead of the first Test against England. Kumble has also revealed that the team combination for the first game is yet to be decided.
“He is an extremely talented player. When he first came into IPL, he showed what he’s capable of; I think the potential Hardik has, has been seen by all. When he bowled in Dharamsala and batted in Delhi, one could see that he’s a quality player. That’s why we are backing him in this series as well. We all understand the importance of an all-rounder, as a fifth bowler and bat in the lower order, that’s a great option to have. We are keen how Hardik develops. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him, he will have all the freedom to express himself and not worry about Test cricket, whenever he gets the opportunity. He is a quality player whom we will back and yes, he will only get better. The more he plays, better he will get and it’s a nice thing to have an all-rounder in the squad,” Kumble said in an interview with The Hindu.
Kumble has also expressed his disappointment about the absence of Rohit Sharma due to an injury, especially, after how he had performed in the Test series against New Zealand.
“We had four or five days break after the series against New Zealand. We are playing a
With a couple of key players missing from the team, the Indian batting lineup could have a completely different look for the first Test. However, Kumble has insisted that the team management is yet to decide on the combination they will field.
“We still have not figured out the combination (for the first Test); everyone is available. With Hardik (Pandya) being part of the squad, we have more options. This is the first Test that will happen at Rajkot. India has played One-Day cricket and Twenty20 here. But we don’t know how the wicket will behave in a Test match. It looks a good surface. We still have a couple of days to decide the team for the Test match,” he said.
India cruised to a comfortable win over New Zealand in their last Test series, but England
“New Zealand was a hard-fought series. The result shows a 3-0 win to us (India), but we knew how hard we had to work to win the series. What was very nice to see during the series was that all the three surfaces (Kanpur,