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Hardik Pandya On Verge Of Making A Comeback For The New Zealand Series
By CricShots - Jan 11, 2020 5:01 pm
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The flamboyant Indian all-rounder, Hardik Pandya is expected to be making a comeback in India’s limited-overs squads — which are unlikely to be significantly tinkered with — for the upcoming six-week tour of New Zealand. Starting January 24, India will be playing five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Test matches, and squads for the tour will be picked on Sunday. India will be playing eight white-ball matches in New Zealand, and it will be interesting to see if the selectors pick a 16 or 17-member squad, instead of 15.

hardik
Hardik Pandya

With the India A team’s shadow tour coinciding with the seniors’ visit, it will also be giving an option to the selectors to draft players on SOS basis if the need arises. The selectors will primarily focus on narrowing down the pool of players considering that this is a T20 World Cup year.

While the T20 squad that played against Sri Lanka, Pandya, who is already in New Zealand with the A team, is expected to be included once he proves his fitness in the first couple of List A games against New Zealand, apart from two warm-up one dayers.

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With India A’s three List A games only ending on January 26, Hardik, returning from a back surgery, might be included by the time the third T20I. Talking about the same, a senior BCCI official said, “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.”

It will be interesting to note if the ODI team is an extension of the T20 squad. The weakest link in the ODI team is Kedar Jadhav, who has managed to hold onto his 50 over slot amid pressure to replace him.

kuldeep
Kuldeep Yadav

In New Zealand, Kedar Jadhav’s technical flaws might get exposed and his lack of overs in recent times makes him a case for exclusion. In the case team management is thinking in terms of treating ODIs as an extension of the T20 series, Suryakumar Yadav can also be an explosive power hitting at No. 5 or 6 could be an option.

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The Test squad wears a very settled look with the only contention being the third opener’s position. Picked as a reserve for the home series, the young Shubman Gill can be the third opener, but at teh same time, KL Rahul’s current form can’t be ignored. The selectors will also deliberate on if a third spinner (Kuldeep Yadav) is needed for the two-match Test series instead of a fifth pacer (Navdeep Saini) to accompany Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.