Indian selectors were in two minds before picking Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan for Australia tour

Indian selectors were in two minds before picking Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan for Australia tour

Going into the T20 World Cup in 2021, the selectors are looking to make the selections, looking at the 'bigger picture'.

Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan
Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan, thus far, have been the highlights for Team India in their tour of Australia. In the ODIs and T20Is, the duo delivered some telling blows and showed what they are capable of. On one hand, Pandya was India’s leading run-scorer in the ODI series with a couple of scores in the 90s.

Natarajan, on the other hand, made his international debut on the tour. While he played the third and final ODI in Canberra, he ended with six wickets in the T20I series. However, prior to the series’, the Indian selectors were reluctant to pick both Hardik and Natarajan for various reasons.

Pandya didn’t bowl a single over in the IPL after returning from injury and it put the selectors in two minds whether to pick him or not. In the second ODI at the SCG, he bowled four overs and picked up the crucial wicket of Steve Smith.

However, the fact that he scored 210 runs in the three ODIs and scored the match-winning 42 in the second T20I made the selectors believe that Pandya is ‘indispensable’ in the white-ball formats.

Hardik Pandya is indispensable in the white-ball format, says sources

“The selectors, at least some, believed he can’t go because he can’t bowl. It was a surprise they didn’t see the kind of batting form he was in. It took some convincing to have Pandya included because if it was left to certain individuals, he was unlikely to go,” sources, privy to the development, was quoted as saying to the Times of India.

“These are the kind of decisions that show if one is capable of looking at the bigger picture. Right now, whether he can bowl or not, Hardik is indispensable in the white-ball format. Between now and the T20 World Cup, these kind of selection decisions will be very crucial,” sources mentioned.

As far as Natarajan is concerned, he leaked 70 runs in his maiden ODI in Canberra. But he showed his prowess in the T20Is, churning out Yorkers in the death overs.

“It was absolutely clear he would play the T20s after what they saw in the nets. The wicket of Mitchell Starc in the first game (T20) cleared whatever little doubt there was,” sources added.