The BCCI's selection committee, on Wednesday, announced a 15-member squad for the first two Tests of the five-match Test series against the England cricket team that is scheduled to start on the 9th of November.
The selection panel, headed by MSK Prasad, came up with a few surprises as some of the star performers of the Ranji Trophy were not considered. The biggest surprise for the fans though was the inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the Test squad. In an exclusive interview with Times of India, Pandya said that he was surprised by his selection in the Test squad.
"It came as a big surprise," Pandya said. "There is no cricketer, at any level, who doesn't dream of representing India in the whites. I'm no different. I have immense respect for all the formats that I've played in, but this is so special. Wasn't really expecting this."
The all-rounder said that he wasn't in the right mix of things after the World T20 early this year. He added that he was low in confidence as well. However, his stint with the India A team Down Under helped him as he got an opportunity to work with Rahul Dravid. The all-rounder was picked for the ODI series against New Zealand and did reasonably well in his debut series.
Pandya says that he is ready to take up any role and wants to play aggressive cricket
Pandya said that he was really happy about the prospect of playing in the traditional format of the game. "It's such an exciting feeling," he said. "I'm naturally inclined towards taking things head on," he was quoted as saying by Times of India.
The right-hander went on to say that he likes playing aggressive cricket no matter which format he was playing in. He claimed that being aggressive on the field helps him to perform better.
"I respect the spirit of the game and believe that it should be played in the right manner. Having said that, aggression is also something that comes naturally to me," Pandya said. The 23-year-old stated that he wasn't worried about the questions being raised over his Test selection and was looking forward to making a mark in the upcoming Test series. He also said that he was ready to fit into any role based on the team's requirement.
India will be playing their first Test against England in Rajkot on 9th of November and will be looking to carry on the momentum from the Test series against New Zealand.
India’s squad: Virat Kohli (c), Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Karun Nair, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav