Harbhajan Singh says the absence of Hardik Pandya could be ‘fatal’ for India in first test in Nottingham
Even though India doesn’t have a good record in tests on English soil so far. The first test match of the five-match test series will be played in Nottingham, a venue in which they have had better success in the past when compared to other venues in England. The Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium in Nottingham has hosted seven test matches between India and England in the past as both teams had two test matches each. Whereas the other three test matches ended in a draw between India and England.
The last time when India toured England in the year 2018, India lost the test series to England 1-4. The only win in that test series came in the Trent Bridge venue in Nottingham.
This time around India looks to have a strong squad against England in the five-match test series. A player who made match-winning contributions, in the last test match when India played England in Nottingham is not part of the current test squad against England. India has emerged victorious in that test match against the host England by 203 runs. The captain Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah were star performers in that match. Virat Kohli scored a century and Jasprit Bumrah had a bowling figure of 8/85. But there was another player who played a vital role in India winning that test match was the all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
The Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya who picked up a five-wicket haul by just giving away 28 runs granted India the first innings lead of 168 runs. The Indian veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh reconsiders the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya would have impacted a negative impact on India if Virat Kohli and his boys are not careful.
Harbhajan Singh said that “I feel that Hardik Pandya’s absence could prove fatal for India. He had bowled well in Nottingham and this time the series will start in Nottingham itself. We all know that’s the conditions in Nottingham always favor the swing bowlers. England is always delighted at the prospect of playing at Trent Bridge as their bowlers perform well’.
Hardik Pandya no longer bowls for India regularly in recent times after having back surgery. The last test match that he played was in Southampton that was also in the same series. He may not be a bowler who bowls that quick but the former Indian cricketer believes, the bowling of Pandya would have benefitted India with Duke’s ball in the swinging conditions.
The former Harbhajan Sigh further added by saying that “I think the playing eleven would have been stronger had Hardik Pandya been there, not only due to his batting, but with 10-15 overs he bowls in a day in swinging conditions, he can pick up wickets. And when he is in full flow, like the last time in Nottingham, he had picked up five wickets”.