Marking his return to red-ball cricket, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya shared a picture from the national side's training session ahead of the first Test against England. The Indian side, led by Virat Kohli, is scheduled to host England for a four-Test series, starting with the first match in Chennai from Friday.
Hardik, who had missed the recently-concluded Test series in Australia, was included in the 18-member squad for the first two Tests against England.
The Surat-born last played a Test match for India in the England tour of 2018. Prolonged back injuries had kept him out of the Test squad, with skipper Virat Kohli clarifying before the Border-Gavaskar series that the all-rounder can only be included when he can bowl as well.
"Back with #TeamIndia Back on home soil Back in red-ball cricket," wrote Hardik while sharing pictures from the training session.
Hardik had a brilliant white-ball leg of the Australia tour where he gathered 268 runs at 89.33 and even bagged the Player of the Series award in the T20I series. Playing his first series with India this year, Pandya first sparked with the bat in the ODI series, finishing as the team's highest run-scorer in three games.
Fans even backed Hardik to stay back and play only as a batsman in the Test series, which India clinched with a historic win in the fourth game at The Gabba. He, however, wasn't in the team management's plans.
Along with Hardik, captain Kohli and pacer Ishant Sharma will also be returning to the Test set-up. While Kohli didn't play the last three Tests in Australia owing to paternity leave, Ishant was ruled out of the tour due to his side strain injury sustained during IPL 2020.
Ishant was building up his workload in order to achieve Test match fitness. "Ready for the match after almost one year! Straight into it!" he wrote.