Australia's cricket expert Ian Chappell has asserted that all-rounder Hardik Panyda's inclusion will complete the Indian Test side. He also added that India's poor catching needs to improve as they can't be putting down the chances created by a strong Indian bowling attack all the time.
India's struggles for a quality seaming all-rounder has been on since the time the legendary Kapil Dev retired. The hunt has been largely unsuccessful but in the last few years, Hardik Pandya has given a new ray of hope. In limited-overs cricket at least, Hardik has shown that he's good enough to play as an all-rounder in the side. India also tried him for Tests but his performances weren't too remarkable and due to frequent injuries, he is now not even in the reckoning for a place in the Test side. Pandya last played a Test as long back as 2018 against England.
However, former Australian great Ian Chappell has stated that Pandya at 'full-fitness', with his all-round skills, will make the Indian Test side more 'versatile' and quite solid.
"To round out India's best side - one that will provide a real challenge if they reach the World Test Championship final - they need Hardik Pandya at full fitness. His all-round presence gives India more selection options in order to take advantage of their blossoming and versatile attack," Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo, reported TOI.
One of India's problematic areas has been their poor fielding, which was on full display be it the Adelaide Test, SCG or even on Day One of the Gabba Test. Chappell feels India need to improve their fielding and also added that Rishabh Pant needs to play more innings like he did at the SCG if he has to play ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.
"The other area of need for India is improved catching. There's no point in having a strong attack if they're constantly thwarted by spilled chances. That leads to Rishabh Pant's presence as a keeper. He's fine standing back but he hurts the team standing up to the spinners. If Pant regularly bats as he did in that spirited second-innings knock in Sydney, then he justifies wearing the gloves. However, if the standard fare is only quick-fire thirties, then there's an argument for Wriddhiman Saha retaining the gloves," he said.
The ongoing India-Australia series has been a close one with both teams putting up a great fight and not giving each other an inch. The cricket pundit feels that this series has been close owing to the fragile batting line-up of both sides.
"The fragility of both teams' batting has contributed greatly to the enthralling nature of the series. A collapse seems never far from happening, and consequently, neither team has been able to establish absolute authority. The resilience and fight shown by India has been matched by the class of the Australian attack and their never-say-die attitude."
He also said that if these two sides play the finale of World Test Championship, it would be quite exciting.
"If these two teams reach the final of the World Test Championship and they are both at full-strength, it should be one of the great winner-take-all battles," he added.