“He has the potential to do what Sehwag did for India”

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Former selector Sarandeep Singh is unhappy about Prithvi Shaw’s exclusion from India’s Test team for the WTC final and the subsequent England Test series. Singh said the youngster should have been rewarded for working on his technical flaws, as he could have the same impact for India as legendary opener Virender Sehwag.

Despite prolific domestic and IPL campaigns, Prithvi Shaw was ignored for India’s red-ball squad for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton and the subsequent Test series against England. Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been selected as the openers, while Prithvi Shaw continues to be overlooked since his horror showing in Australia.

Talking to PTI about India’s red-ball selections for the upcoming tour, Sarandeep Singh said that it is too early to sideline a batsman like Prithvi Shaw.

“He has the potential to do what 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,” Sarandeep Singh said.

After a disastrous outing in the Adelaide Test, Prithvi Shaw went back to the drawing board and piled on the runs in domestic cricket and also impressed in IPL 2021.

Sarandeep Singh stressed the importance of backing young players while also saying that the young Shubman Gill needs to be looked after well after he failed to fire against England in the home series.

“You have to back a talent like Shaw and even someone like Shubman Gill (he is in the team but did not get runs against England at home) for that matter,” Sarandeep Singh suggested.

Hardik Pandya disturbs the white-ball team’s balance if he doesn’t bowl – Sarandeep Singh

Sarandeep Singh also talked about Hardik Pandya’s exclusion from the Test team. The all-rounder was not picked for the WTC final or the subsequent England series, as he has not bowled consistently since his back surgery in 2019.

While many feel Hardik Pandya’s Test prospects are bleak if he doesn’t bowl regularly, Sarandeep Singh said that the 27-year-old is not a good fit for India’s white-ball side as well if he does not bowl.

“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 a part of the playing XI even in the shorter formats. He can’t just play as a batsman,” Sarandeep Singh said.

The former selector explained why Hardik Pandya becomes a liability if he is not bowling, pointing out that his presence disturbs the balance of the side. With India enjoying the emergence of several all-rounders in recent months, Sarandeep Singh feels the team has enough replacements for the Mumbai Indians star.

“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 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,” Sarandeep Singh concluded.

Hardik Pandya may have missed out on a place in the team for the England tour, but he is likely to play a key role in India’s white-ball series with Sri Lanka in July. A strong showing would do his confidence a world of good, as India will want their all-rounder to hit form before the T20 World Cup.




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