Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting on Wednesday revealed India all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s response when he was asked to play in the World Test Championship Final against Australia.
During the first day of the WTC final, former England captain Nasser Hussain noted India’s concern about their starting lineup, in contrast to Australia. A seam-bowling all-rounder like Pandya, according to Hussain, is what India needs for international play while Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja are ideal for domestic conditions.
“Where is Hardik Pandya? At the toss this morning, it was so apparent that India were not sure about their side and Australia were crystal clear and Cameron Green has a lot to do with that. He just balances the side away from home in England. He is the sort of cricketer that India would have loved to have. Of course, Shardul Thakur is a seam-bowling all-rounder of kinds. In India, you’ve got Jadeja, Ashwin and Axar Patel. They are complete all-rounders in Indian conditions but what about a seam-bowling all-rounder when you go overseas? Where is Hardik Pandya?” Hussain asked in the commentary during the final session’s play on Wednesday.
To this, Ponting replied and revealed that Hardik declined because he felt it would be unfair to the other Indian players who had participated in the WTC cycle and helped the team advance to the final.
“That’s the one line that was mentioned in commentary earlier today. He made it clear that he feels his body won’t get through the rigours of Test cricket. He was thrown up in a game like this. What do you think about playing in a game like this, just a one-off Test, just to help the balance of the side? And his reply apparently was that he didn’t feel it was fair on everyone else who have been through this journey in the last couple of years leading into this game,” Ponting said.
Pandya, whose last of 11 Tests was played against England in September 2018, declined to play in the format again in March of this year. The all-rounder claimed he didn’t help the team by even “10%” in their quest to advance to the WTC final.
“No. I am a very ethically strong person. I haven’t done 10 per cent to reach there. I am not even a part of one percent. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well.”
“If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be available for the WTC final or future Test series until I don’t feel that I have earned my spot,” he had said.