Hardik Pandya’s personal trainer S Rajnikanth has said that the all-rounder is fit and that there was no fitness test conducted by the BCCI. His trainer has taken the call that Pandya should continue with his training for now to test his bowling workload, but then, he should not be exposed to workload in international matches. “He is 100% fit. There is no doubt about that. But I don’t want him to take the workload of back-to-back international matches. No fitness test has been conducted for Pandya yet, so there’s no question of him failing any test,” Rajnikanth told Times of India.
After reports emerged that Hardik failed the fitness test, he was pulled out of the India A squad which was slated to a play a series against New Zealand A.
“But that’s not because he’s not fit or has failed any test. He’s fit, he can score a 20 in yoyo right now. He’s doing his 20 meters too, effortlessly. Why I pulled him out is because of his bowling. That is still work in progress – the bowling workload at the international level,” Rajnikanth added.
The report also added that all data has been sent to the BCCI as well as the NCA by the trainer. India will be playing eight white ball games in New Zealand, and it will be interesting to see if the selectors pick a 16 or 17-member squad, instead of 15.
Picked as a reserve for the home series, the young Shubman Gill deserves to be the third opener, but K L Rahul’s current form and experience in Test cricket could also be considered.
The selectors will also deliberate on if a third spinner (Kuldeep Yadav) is needed for the two-match Test series instead of a fifth pacer (Navdeep Saini) to accompany Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.