As Hardik Pandya made his way to the Indian Test squad for the 5 match Test series against England, many eyebrows were raised regarding the selection committee’s choice to pick the all-rounder. With the Test series due to begin on November 9, the all-rounder from Jharkhand will be looking to answer his critics with some strong performances on the field.
Surprisingly, Pandya has not played much of domestic cricket and this was the reason for his selection being questioned by many. He has played only 16 first-class matches where he has notched up 727 runs at an average of 27 and picked up 22 wickets at an average of 33.72. There have been a lot of domestic cricketers who have performed better than him, but he was chosen mainly due to his skill which he has showcased and due to his all-around ability.
He had an ODI debut to remember where he picked up 3 wickets in the first ODI against New Zealand at Dharamsala which India comfortably won by 6 wickets.
Pandya himself hails his Test selection as the proudest moment of his life. In an interview with BCCI TV, he spoke to them about his Test selection and Rahul Dravid’s mentorship
“I don’t even know how many missed calls I have on my phone at the moment. I need to reply to them and thank them for all the good wishes that they have sent me all these days,” said Pandya.
“I started playing cricket after watching Test cricket. I grew up watching Test cricket and representing India in whites is every cricketer’s dream. When you get a Test call up, you can’t describe the feeling but it feels amazing now. It is undoubtedly the proudest moment of my life, ” said Pandya when asked about how he felt regarding his Test selection.
Hardik had a lot to say about Rahul Dravid who was his coach during India A’s tour to Australia this year. He said that he learnt a lot from Dravid and that helped him improve his skill and shape up to be the player he is today.
“Those 50 days with Rahul Sir were priceless. I kept asking him about things I needed to do to be a better player and well suited for Test cricket. He just told me one thing - ‘I believe you can play Test cricket provided you become more aware of your game.’ He told me cricket is a situation sport and it was all about reacting and modeling your batting according to the situation.”
Pandya said that Rahul Dravid was the one who instilled the confidence in him to get into the Indian Test squad. “He would always tell me, that people know me for the big shots but I am a much better batsman than just playing big shots. He believed that I had the technique and mental state to stick around for a long innings.”