The recent ICC World Test Championship final in 2023 left India disappointed, leading to widespread discussions and opinions. While some individuals have been quick to criticise the coach-captain partnership of Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma for the team's defeat, others argue that it is time for seasoned players to step aside and make room for the emerging talents. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, weighed in on India's loss and shared his perspective. Ganguly expressed his belief that the team should gradually introduce several promising young players into the squad, nurturing their potential and preparing them for future challenges. Additionally, Ganguly issued a special plea to Hardik Pandya, urging him to seriously consider making a comeback to Test cricket.
Need Pandya to return to Test cricket
During a conversation with India Today, Ganguly tactfully avoided addressing the ongoing speculations surrounding the future careers of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. Instead, he focused on the broader aspects of India's performance and the opportunities that lie ahead for young cricketers in the nation.
"Let's not jump to conclusions due to just one loss, India will always have talent. And I don't think it is time to look beyond Virat (Kohli) or (Cheteshwar) Pujara. Virat is just 34," said Ganguly.
When discussing the upcoming generation of players, Sourav Ganguly specifically highlighted a group of individuals whom he considers to have great potential and believes should be considered for inclusion in the team in the months to come. In addition, Ganguly expressed a strong desire to see Hardik Pandya return to Test cricket, stressing the significance of his involvement in the longest format of the game.
"India has enormous reserves. When you look at some of the performances. I don't consider IPL performances if we are sticking to Test cricket. In domestic cricket there are some fantastic players and you will only find out when you give them opportunities. Whether it be Jaiswal or Patidar, Abhimanyu Easwaran from Bengal scores a lot of runs. Shubman Gill is young, Ruturaj Gaikwad and I hope Hardik Pandya is listening. I want to see him play Test cricket, especially in these conditions," said Ganguly.
Pandya on return to longest format
Hardik Pandya has been absent from Test cricket since August 2018. When questioned about the possibility of returning to the Test team for the ICC World Test Championship final, he emphasized the significance of undergoing the rigorous preparation and hard work required before making a comeback. Pandya stressed the importance of immersing oneself in the challenges and demands of the game, implying that he wants to ensure he is fully prepared before returning to the Test format.
"If I want to play Test cricket, I will go through the grind, I will earn my position and then come back. For that reason, to be very honest, I will not be available or play the World Test Championship Final, or any future Test matches until I feel that I have earned my spot," the all-rounder had said.
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