India have a strong squad heading into the Test series, and yet, a member of the 2018 victorious Test match in Nottingham is not part of it.
Although India’s record in Tests in England isn’t one to brag, they begin the five-match series at a venue they have fared better at as compared to others – The Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium. Nottingham has hosted seven matches between India and England in the past with both teams having won two Test matches, while three ended in draws. The last time they toured England for a Test series, India lost 1-4, their only win of the series coming at this very venue.
India have a strong squad heading into the Test series, and yet, a member of the 2018 victorious Test match in Nottingham is not part of it. India had beaten England by 203 runs and while Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah had starred in the match with a century and 8/85, another player who had left quite the impact in the Test was all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
Pandya had claimed 5/28 in England’s first innings, handing India a first-innings lead of 168, and veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh reckons the all-rounder’s absence is a big void and that it could prove to be dangerous for India if Virat Kohli and Co. are not careful.
“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 the conditions in Nottingham always favours the swing bowlers. England are always delighted at the prospect of playing at Trent Bridge as their bowlers perform well,” Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel.
Pandya, who no longer bowls regularly for India following his back surgery, last played a Test match in Southampton – the same series. While he may not be excess pace, Harbhajan feels Pandya’s bowling could have been beneficial with the Dukes ball in the swinging conditions of England.
“I think the playing eleven would have been stronger had Hardik Pandya been there, not only due to his batting, but with the 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,” Harbhajan added.