Hardik Pandya fails fitness test, Vijay Shankar replaces him in India A squad for NZ tour

Hardik Pandya fails fitness test, Vijay Shankar replaces him in India A squad for NZ tour

A major setback for Team India ahead of New Zealand tour.

Hardik Pandya (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

In a major blow to Hardik Pandya’s hopes of returning to Team India, he has been dropped from India A squad after failing the mandatory fitness test. The ace allrounder has not played a single competitive game since the home T20I series against South Africa in September. He was a part of the subsequent Test side but pulled out of it due to a back injury.

In October, he underwent surgery on his back and thus missed the series against Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka. The selectors recently named him in India A squad for the one-day games in New Zealand which would have paved his way for a return to the senior side. But the decision to name the all-rounder in India A side without asking him to prove his fitness in Ranji Trophy has backfired badly.

Hardik Pandya is now also effectively out of India’s tour of New Zealand which consists of five T20Is, three Tests and three ODIs. The tour gets underway on January 24 with the T20I series. The squads for the tour of New Zealand will be announced on January 12. With Pandya out, not many big changes in the squads are expected now.

According to a report in Scroll.in, Pandya failed a couple of mandatory fitness tests and his scores were well below the permissible range suggesting that he is far from being fit for international cricket. In this situation, pulling him out of the India A squad was expected. Pandya can now be asked to play a Ranji Trophy game to prove his fitness.

Vijay Shankar recalled

The injury to Hardik Pandya has now opened up the doors for Vijay Shankar to prove his worth once again. The all-rounder has fallen down the pecking order in recent times, having last played for India in the World Cup. The Tamil Nadu captain has been struggling to get going this season and will be keen to make the big chance count. India A will play two 50-over warm-up games, three List A games and two four-day Tests against the home A team.