Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta feels that there is a very specific reason for Hardik Pandya being included in the Test squad against England. He conceded, however, that Pandya might not feature in the first Test in Chennai.

Deep Dasgupta, who played 8 Tests for India, feels that the management has included Pandya to assess where he is with regards to his bowling. The 43-year-old said that with little domestic action on offer, Hardik Pandya is being afforded this chance to regain his bowling fitness. The upcoming tour of England in England, after all, will require an additional seam option.

It is worth noting that the World Test Championship final will also take place in England, thereby increasing Pandya’s importance.

“One of the reasons he is there is because there is not much domestic cricket happening right now. Whatever has been announced is predominantly white-ball cricket. Hardik become very, very important when we start travelling outside. At home you might not feel his importance as much because you have spinning all-rounder in Ashwin. Jadeja, too, will be back. Washington Sundar is in, Axar is there but his importance increases 10 folds when you start travelling,” Dasgupta told Sports Today.

“There is a huge England series coming up. There is a very, very good chance of India qualifying for the World Test Championship finals. That’s where I think Hardik will be very important.

“I think his inclusion in the squad is to make sure that his progress is monitored as a bowler. So, I don’t think we will see him in the first Test but I think he is there for a very specific reason, to monitor his progress as an all-rounder, as a bowler,” Deep Dasgupta added.

Pandya last played a Test match in September 2018. Lately, he has avoided bowling owing to fitness concerns and played the limited over leg of the Australia series almost exclusively as a batsman.

His selection in the Test squad is exciting news for India cricket fans, who must be hoping that he can translate his white-ball form onto the longer format.

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