Shane Watson Urges Ace Indian All-Rounder to Return to Test Cricket
Hardik Pandya is being groomed as India's next skipper [Source: Twitter]
Hardik Pandya, quite early on in his career, was being hailed as India's next Kapil Dev, however, a string of back injuries and a remodelled action has forced the all-rounder to focus more on white-ball cricket than red-ball. Pandya, who is now being groomed as India's next limited-overs skipper, picks and chooses his matches, given his troubled past with injuries.
Former Australian player Shane Watson believes that the 29-year-old should take a leap of faith and return to the Test arena if his body can handle the rigours of five-day cricket.
Pandya last featured for India in whites back in 2018 and has played 11 matches, scoring 528 runs and picking up 17 wickets.
In absence of Pandya, the Indian team have played Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and Axar Patel as all-rounders in home and away conditions.
Watson, himself a devastating batter, speaking to Hindustan Times explained that Pandya's batting skills can alone get him a place in the XI, but his ability to swing the ball will have a greater impact for Team India.
Here's what Watson said
"For me it eventually comes down to his body and whether it can handle the rigours of playing Test cricket as a fast-bowling all-rounder. I would love to see him push the limits as an all-rounder and cricketer when it comes to playing all formats of the game because he is one of the special talents in world cricket.”
Pandya will be in action for India in the upcoming ODI series against Australia starting March 17, before leading defending champions Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023.