All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the upcoming three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, starting at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 16. Pandya was named in India's squad for the first two Tests. The decision was taken considering Pandya's heavy recent workload. Pandya will undergo a period of strength and conditioning at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
"The decision was made to negate any possibility of a major injury concern. Mr Pandya will undergo a period of strength and conditioning at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru," the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a press release.
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The selectors did not name any replacement for Pandya and the BCCI media release did not clarify whether he has sustained injury or it is workload-related issue.
Pandya was in pain trying to stop a powerful hit off his own bowling during the final T20 International against New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram. He nonetheless completed his over.
Since the start of Champions Trophy in June, Pandya has played three Tests, 22 ODIs and five T20 Internationals -- second only to skipper Virat Kohli in terms of first XI appearances.
The question that has not been answered is why the selectors did not rest Pandya prior to the Test squad selection knowing fully well what his workload is.
With Sri Lanka not the most powerful team, Indian team management is likely to go in with all three specialist spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav as the all-rounder may not be necessary.
Pandya had a memorable Test debut in Sri Lanka where he scored 178 runs, including a century and a half-century on debut.
BCCI's All-India Senior Selection Committee has also named Sanju Samson as captain of the Board President's XI for the warm-up match against Sri Lanka after Naman Ojha was ruled out due to injury. Anmolpreet Singh has been added to the squad.
India Test squad for the first two Tests: Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Vice-Captain), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Board President's XI squad: Sanju Samson (C) (WK), Jiwanjot Singh, B Sandeep, Tanmay Agarwal, Abhishek Gupta, Rohan Prem, Akash Bhandari, Jalaj Saxena, Chama Milind, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Ravi Kiran, Anmolpreet Singh.