Hardik Pandya won’t be part of World Test Championship Final

17 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Hardik Sports

Pandya's presence gives India an advantage with the bat, notably in the absence of Rishabh Pant.

Hardik Pandya, India’s stand-in captain in the ODI series against Australia, has announced that he will not play in the World Test Championship final. Hardik Pandya has not played Test cricket for India since September 2018 and has been limited to only playing white-ball cricket due to constant injuries, particularly back injuries.

But, with India having qualified for the World Test Championship, he was approached before of the first One-Day International against Australia if he would be willing to don the whites again for the one-off game at The Oval.

While Pandya’s presence gives India an advantage with the bat, notably in the absence of Rishabh Pant, and with the ball in swing-friendly English conditions, the all-rounder has already ruled himself out of the Final Test.

On being quizzed if he would be tempted to return, Pandya said as quoted by ICC: “To be honest, no. I am ethically very strong in my life. I haven’t done 10% to reach there. I am not even a part of the 1%. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well with me.”

“If I want to play Test cricket, I will go through the grind, I will earn my position and then come back. For that reason, to be very honest, I will not be available or play the World Test Championship Final, or any future test matches until I feel that I have earned my spot,” Pandya said quoted by ICC.

The first game of the ODI series against Australia will be Hardik’s debut as captain of India in the 50-over format, while he has previously led the side in T20Is. India will be missing Rohit Sharma for the opening game of the series, but the regular captain is expected to return for the next two.

Sharma’s absence from the first ODI creates a void at the top of the order. Shubman Gill’s fantastic run in the 50-over format in 2023 has elevated him to the top of the teamsheet, and he will be joined by Ishan Kishan at the Wankhede tomorrow, according to skipper Hardik.

Kishan last opened in the 50-over format, smashing a double tonne (210 off 131 balls) against Bangladesh. The series also allows both teams to put their skills to the test against one another in preparation for the Cricket World Cup. When asked about World Cup preparation and India’s terrible knockout record in Men’s ICC events recently, Hardik stressed the importance of bilateral series.

“We are not trying anything new,” Hardik said. “We will play according to the situation but we will try to be brave which I think in the last couple of series we have done well,” quoted ICC.

“The more challenging and closer the bilateral games get, the more we can learn and start playing under pressure as well as the knockouts. “I don’t think we need to look at it [previous ICC events] right now – past is past. We are looking forward to the future and hoping for the best,” quoted by ICC.