All-rounder Hardik Pandya is expected to be included in India’s white-ball squads for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, as per the PTI report. India will play 8 limited-overs games (5 T20Is and 3 ODIs) in the Kiwiland along with 2 Tests. The management will pick the squad for the tour on Sunday (January 12) and the tour will begin on January 24.
On the other hand, India ‘A’ team have also been touring New Zealand for 3 One Day games and 2 unofficial four-day games at the same time. Selectors will get the option to pick players if the situation arises for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Team India thrashed Sri Lanka in the recently-concluded Twenty20 International series where Pandya was not a part. Even he has been out of the action since September 2019 due to injury. Even he underwent a surgery to treat his lower back issue in October and also missed the home series against Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka too.
However, he has recently returned in the action and named in the India A team. However, he needs to prove his fitness in the first two unofficial ODIs against New Zealand ‘A’. The unofficial ODIs of India A will end on January 26. By then the Indian team will play only two T20Is against New Zealand.
Senior BCCI Official on Hardik Pandya
“About Hardik, it’s only about checking out if he is fully fit for international cricket or not. He is very integral to India’s World T20 plans,” a senior BCCI official said PTI on the condition of anonymity.
Pandya, while speaking to India Today Consulting Editor, Sports, Boria Majumdar, he said that replacing MS Dhoni for the finisher’s role is not possible for him.
“I’ll never be able to fill MS’ shoes, so I don’t even think that way. I’m quite excited about the challenge, to be honest. Whatever I do, it will be always for the team you know. It will be one step at the ladder and slowly-slowly that Cup will be there!” Pandya said.