Hardik Pandya is all set to mark his return for Team India during the T20I series in New Zealand, starting January 24 at the Eden Park in Auckland. The all-rounder was sidelined after India’s T20I series versus South Africa at home due to an injury from which he has taken a few months to recover. Back in October, the Baroda cricketer also underwent back surgery in London.
He has also been picked for India A’s tour of New Zealand later this month. The three-match one day matches will kickstart on January 22 at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln. The fixtures will be followed by a couple of unofficial Tests in Christchurch and Lincoln itself. In the meantime, apart from the five T20Is, the senior team is scheduled to play three ODIs and two Test matches.
As far as Pandya is concerned, even as his return to the ODI and T20I setup is pretty much on the cards, it’s not known when he will make his Test return. As per a report in Mumbai Mirror, Pandya is also in the scheme of things for the ODI series versus Australia. Now for the series against the Black Caps, if Hardik gets picked, the axe may come down on the swashbuckling Shivam Dube.
Shivam Dube likely to be axed
Dube got his maiden call-up during the series against Bangladesh and went on to make his debut right away. The Mumbai all-rounder retained his spot for the West Indies T20Is and also for the matches versus Sri Lanka. In seven T20Is, Dube has churned out 64 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 152.38. Of late, he also got a promotion to bat at number three in the Indian lineup.
There he scored 54 off 30, though it eventually came in a losing cause. Dube hasn’t flattered to deceive with the ball either. In the third T20I against Mahmudullah’s Bangladesh, he turned the game on its head, picking up some crucial wickets under extreme pressure.
However, after a decent start, he might have to wait longer for cementing his spot in the national team. Hardik Pandya is being seen as their premier fast-bowling all-rounder and also a key member in the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, set to start later in October.
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