Hardik doesn't fit in playing XI if he can't bowl in limited-overs cricket: Sarandeep Singh

Former national selector Sarandeep Singh feels Hardik Pandya's absence from the bowling crease needs to end for the all-rounder to be in the playing XI even in limited-overs cricket.

After undergoing back surgery in 2019, Hardik Pandya has not bowled regularly.   -  AP

Former national selector Sarandeep Singh has backed the current committee's call to omit Hardik Pandya from the India squad for the six Test matches in England this year.

The last time Pandya played Tests was in England in 2018. After undergoing back surgery in 2019, Hardik has not bowled regularly and despite being part of the squad for the home Tests against England, he didn't make it to the XI.

"The selectors' decision to ignore Hardik for Tests is understandable. He has not been able to bowl regularly after his surgery. I feel he has to bowl 10 overs in ODIs and four in T20s to be part of the playing XI even in shorter formats. He can't just play as a batsman," said Sarandeep.

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"If Hardik doesn't bowl, it disturbs the balance of the side hugely. You have to play an extra bowler because of that and someone like Suryakumar Yadav has to miss out. As we saw in the ODI series against England and Australia, we can't play with five bowling options.

"The team now has other all-rounders in Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] is back, Shardul Thakur can also be an all-rounder, he has shown that. They all can do the job if Hardik can't bowl."

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The Shaw conundrum

 Sarandeep, whose tenure ended with the historic tour of Australia earlier this year, was also surprised to see Prithvi Shaw not make the cut.

"He (Shaw) has the potential to do what (Virender) Sehwag did for India. You can't sideline him so early in his career. He has scored tons of runs in domestic cricket after being dropped post the Australia tour. He has corrected his technical flaws also and look how he played in the IPL.

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"You have to back a talent like Shaw and even someone like Shubman Gill (he is in the team but did not gets runs against England at home) for that matter."

No Unadkat

The four standbys picked for the UK tour are opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, pacers Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna and Arzan Nagwaswalla.

"Priyank Panchal got a hundred for India A in New Zealand. You have not picked him. You have not picked Devdutt Padikkal who also scored tons of runs. For the left-arm pacer's slot, I fail to understand why Jaydev Unadkat is being ignored.

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"He picked 67 wickets (a record) in the last Ranji Trophy and a lot of them came on the flat track of Rajkot," added Sarandeep.

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