Indian cricket star Hardik Pandya has impressed the cricket world after selflessly ruling himself out of the World Test Championship final in June.
Pandya rose to prominence as one of India’s top all-rounders through the lucrative cauldron of the Indian Premier League, and despite an early career as a limited-overs specialist, made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2017.
Despite that, he has only played 11 Tests since, with a variety of injuries keeping him out of the longer formats of the game.
As a result, he has only played limited-overs cricket for India since September 2018.
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With India qualifying for the World Test Championship after Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand in a nailbiting first Test in Christchurch, Pandya was asked ahead of his first game as one-day captain whether he would be ready to play the World Test Championship final in conditions that would suit his right-arm seam.
“To be honest, no,” he said.
“I am ethically very strong in my life. I haven’t done 10 per cent to reach there. I am not even a part of the 1 per cent.
“So me coming (to England) and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well with me.
“If I want to play Test cricket, I will go through the grind, I will earn my position and then come back. For that reason, to be very honest, I will not be available or play the World Test Championship final, or any future Test matches until I feel that I have earned my spot.”
Social media was full of praise for the all-rounder, with one social media user saying it was a “very fair self assessment.”
“Wish KL Rahul thought the same and went back to domestic cricket to justify his place,” they said.
Another said “you have my respect Hardik Pandya.”
Pandya will captain India in the one-day format for the first time in tonight’s ODI against Australia in Mumbai.
While the three-match series is not part of the World Cup Super League, meaning that it doesn’t count towards qualification for the 2023 World Cup in India in October, it will be one of the few limited-overs opportunities Australia get before the tournament, with an upcoming Ashes tour on the horizon.
The first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium marks the first time that Australia have played the 50-over format since demolishing a hungover second-string English side after the T20 World Cup in a barely watched series ahead of the Test summer.
It sees a period of rejuvenation and turnover for the side, with Aaron Finch retiring from international cricket, David Warner in doubt both on the basis of form and injury, Glenn Maxwell returning from a horror leg break, Travis Head entering white-ball consideration, and the absence of both Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
The new look side will also contend with the absence of injured tearaway Jhye Richardson, but with Australia’s depth of white-ball talent, they will back themselves as the only country to have beaten India at home in a bilateral series since 2016.
The first ODI gets underway on Friday at 7pm AEDT.
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