Hardik Pandya scored 53 runs in the first Test against England. (AP Photo)
Hardik Pandya turns to Ranji Trophy while aiming for Test comeback
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been named in the Baroda squad which will face Mumbai in the Group A Ranji Trophy match on Friday. Pandya has been out of action since September due to a back injury he sustained during India’s Asia Cup match against Pakistan. The all-rounder said that he is playing the Ranji Trophy so as to assess his fitness before possibly joining the Indian Test squad currently touring Australia.
“I will see my match fitness, where I stand,” Pandya was quoted as saying by Times Now. “Before I go for any major series, I wanted to see where exactly I stand. Ranji Trophy is the best domestic tournament. I wanted to check my fitness levels there. And then take a call about how I am feeling and what should be the next step. Right now, I am only focusing on the Ranji Trophy and then obviously, I want to get back to the team as soon as possible, because it’s difficult to stay away for so long.”
Pandya had the option of joining India A on their ODI tour of New Zealand but he opted to play long-form cricket.
“If I am playing a Test match, I should play a four-day game (rather) than one-day. Because one-day is later on. I am focusing right now that if I can make it to the team, because there is scope of me making a comeback into the Test team, if I am fit to play a Test match. That’s why I wanted to take my time and see where exactly I stand in Ranji Trophy,” he explained.
“Playing a Test match is a different league. The workload goes very high, so I wanted to see if I can manage the workload. I knew I would get enough match preparation before the Australia ODIs. Therefore I focused on playing Ranji Trophy. Before I go for any major series, I wanted to see where exactly I stand,” Pandya added.
Since making his Test debut in July 2017, Pandya has been a regular in Virat Kohli’s squad. India are currently leading the four-match series against Australia 1-0, winning their first Test of a series Down Under for the first time ever.