New Delhi: India’s rising star Hardik Pandya on Friday pulled out of a Test series against Sri Lanka with the cricket board saying the all-rounder needs a break.
The 24-year-old is to head for rehabilitation instead of being part of the 16-man squad for the first two of the three-match series which starts next Thursday in Kolkata.
“Considering Mr Pandya’s heavy recent workload, the decision was made to negate any possibility of a major injury concern,” said a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) statement.
Pandya is to “undergo a period of strength conditioning at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.”
Pandya has become a key member of the Virat Kohli-led side since making his limited-overs debut last year. He has played in 30 of India’s last 33 matches.
Once shunned by selectors because of his exuberant onfield celebrations and swagger off the pitch, Pandya is now being considered a possible all-time great.
The right-arm medium pace bowler injured his hand trying to stop a shot from New Zealand batsman Colin de Grandhomme in the series-deciding Twenty20 international in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
India clinched the T20s 2-1 to stay unbeaten at home in any format since losing to South Africa in one-day games in 2015.
Pandya was played a big part in the team’s success with his seam bowling and his hard-hitting batting.
He has played just three Tests since making his debut with a half-century against Sri Lanka at Galle in June, but his 29 ODI and 24 T20 appearances speak volumes of his allround ability.
India are the top Test nation in the International Cricket Council ratings and second behind South Africa in one day matches.
As well as three Tests, India and Sri Lanka will play three one day games and three T20s in December.
India squad for first two Tests: Virat Kohli (capt), Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma. – AFP