Indian skipper Virat Kohli has made it clear that for Test selection, Hardik Pandya must bowl as it's a different challenge altogether. Pandya emerged as India's best batsman in the white-ball leg of the ongoing tour prompting experts to call for his inclusion in the Test side as well
One of the biggest takeaways from the limited-overs leg of the ongoing Australia tour was the fact that until Hardik Pandya gets fit enough to bowl, he still has a lot to offer as a specialist batsman. The powerful hitter was India's leading run-scorer in the three-match ODI series where he hammered twin 90s and was even the Man of the Match in India's only win in the third ODI. In the T20I series, as well, he was named Man of the Series after he played a brilliant match-winning knock in the second T20I where he made 42* off 22 to help India hunt down a big target.
Given Hardik's great form has coincided with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma missing a major part of the Australia Tests, there have been calls from experts like Mohammad Kaif asking for Hardik Pandya to stay back for the Border-Gavaskar trophy as he is in great form with the bat. However, Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, who will only participate in the first Test, made it clear that Pandya needs to bowl as Test cricket is a different format altogether.
"Hardik couldn't bowl and we knew he will not be able to bowl but we saw in the IPL the headspace that he has been. But Test cricket is a different challenge and we need him to bowl," Kohli stated, reported TOI.
"We have spoken about it. He is one guy who brings in a lot of balance for us in overseas conditions like South Africa, England. We were able to compete for longer periods of time and he adds a lot of balance in terms of his bowling."
Virat also outlined that Pandya is in a great zone at the moment but needs to get back to bowling for reckoning in Tests.
"He is definitely in a zone where he wants to perform for India in all three disciplines. That's always been his 'X-factor'. In white ball cricket, we found someone who can finish games consistently," the skipper said.
"He himself wants to get back into the bowling space and make sure he is available in Tests because it becomes way more important for five days, that little bit extra.
"He understands that he has to come back the fittest he is able to," he added
After Australia won the ODI series 2-1, India bounced back in the T20Is to clinch the series 2-1 and now the focus shifts to four-match Test series between the two great cricketing nations from December 17 in Adelaide.