Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said that the absence of Hardik Pandya, India’s leading seam bowling all-rounder, in the England Trials series could prove disastrous for India’s chances of winning, which begins with the first game in Nottingham.
Pandya has not played test cricket since the last tour to England in 2018 due to his back problems, which left him unable to bowl more than a few overs. With a view to the T20 World Cup, the management decided not to take any risks; he hasn’t thrown a single one in the IPL since last season.
Harbhajan Singh said conditions in Nottingham are conducive to speed bowling and Pandya has added strength and support to Indian bowling.
“I believe that Hardik Pandya’s absence could be fatal for India. He had bowled well in Nottingham and this time the series starts in Nottingham itself. We all know that conditions in Nottingham always favor swing bowlers. England are always excited about the prospect of playing at Trent Bridge as their bowlers are doing well, ”Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube video.
The eleven would have been stronger if Hardik Pandya had been there: Harbhajan Singh
The 41-year-old commentator continued to emphasize the value Pandya has brought to the Indian line-up and also pointed to his previous game at Trent Bridge – where Pandya picked a five-wicket haul in the first innings and cracked a quick fifty in the second to help India achieve their only win on this tour.
“I think the eleven would have been stronger if Hardik Pandya had been there, not only because of his punching power, but also with the 10-15 overs that he bowled in one day under peppy conditions, he can take on wickets. And when it is in full swing, like last time in Nottingham, he has picked up five wickets, ”said Harbhajan Singh.
Shardul Thakur is the next option India has on the roster, a nutritious all-rounder. But he will hardly get a game at the start of the series. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are the spin bowling all-rounders who would be rather ineffective on green, speed-friendly courts.
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