All-rounder Pandya is one for the future in Tests: Kumble
HYDERABAD: India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is one for the future as far as Test cricket is concerned and that is why it is important to keep him “in the mix”, head coach Anil Kumble stressed on Tuesday ahead of the one-off five-day engagement with Bangladesh starting here on Thursday.
Pandya, 23, is yet to make his Test debut but has been part of recent India squads.
“We want to keep Hardik in the mix because he is someone who has the ability to become a good all-rounder even in the longer format,” Kumble said answering a question on why the 23-year-old was part of the team despite not featuring in any of the Tests so far.
“It’s rare when someone can run in and bowl 140 kmph and bat in the lower middle order. He is not tested in the longer format but in future when we travel outside India, he will be someone we can probably look at,” the 46-year-old former India captain said.
On their opponents Bangladesh, who had a harrowing time in New Zealand going winless in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, Kumble said they have good all-rounders and it will be a good contest.
“Bangladesh have done really well against New Zealand in the recent past although the results have been different and we would like to look at what we can do and continue to measure what we can achieve as well.
“Bangladesh have some good all-rounders so should be a good contest,” Kumble said.
Asked whether the opening slot is a concern, the legendary leg-spinner said, “Opening slot is not a concern at all.
“Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul have played really well in the last series. We need a back up opener if something happens on the day of the match. Abhinav (Mukund) brings in not just experience of playing at the international level but also lots of runs at the domestic level.”
Kumble said the aim would be to keep the momentum from the England series going ahead of the more important Australia series.
“We would like to look at it as continuation from where we left off against England. It’s been a good home season so far. We would like to take confidence from that and build on it as we have a few more test matches after this.”