Mumbai: Call it slip of the tongue, if you like! But that is one slip cricket buffs may not really mind. Baroda skipper Kedar Devdhar inadvertently disclosed to media persons on Monday that Hardik Pandya will be flying to Australia and will not be available for their next Ranji Trophy fixture.
The disclosure came much before the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) official announcement. The all-rounder, who suffered a back injury during the Asia Cup in September, was initially not included in the 18-member Indian squad. But now he is raring to go; and in his first competitive game against Mumbai in Ranji Trophy, he impressed with both ball and bat. He scored 73 runs in the first innings and grabbed seven wickets. which included 5-81 in the first innings. On the opening day of the match, national selector Sarandeep Singh, who was present at the stadium, was seen having a word with Pandya.
With Indian bating-order continuing to struggle in Perth, Pandya’s presence will provide Virat Kohli and company much-needed depth in the batting line-up and an additional option in the bowling department. Meanwhile, injured Prithvi Shaw was on Monday ruled out for the entire Test series against Australia with the BCCI replacing the young opener with Mayank Agarwal. The 19-year-old Mumbaikar had suffered a left ankle injury while attempting a catch in a practice game against Cricket Australia XI. “The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Agarwal as his replacement,” said a BCCI release.