Hardik Pandya, who’ll be leading the Indian team in the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai on Friday, said in a press conference on Thursday that he will not take part in the World Test Championships final because he feels that he “hasn’t earned his spot” in the Test squad.
“No. I am ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10% to reach there. I am not even a part of 1%. So me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be available for the WTC final or future test series until I feel that I have earned my spot,” the swashbuckling batter told the media.
With Sri Lanka losing the first Test against New Zealand in the two-match series, Australia and India were locked in as the 2023 World Test Championship finalists, despite the Ahmedabad Test having ended in a draw. The two sides will face each other at the Oval on June 7.
Pandya has always said that he would only take part in Tests once he earns his stripes. In January while responding to a question where he was asked when he’ll be seen in the Test matches, Hardik had said, ‘When will I be seen in whites?’ Let me be fully be in Blue first and then I’ll say about the whites.”
Meanwhile, With regular skipper Rohit Sharma set to miss the first ODI at the Wankhede Stadium due to family commitments, Pandya was named the stand-in captain for the contest, Cricket Australia reported on Thursday.
“Rohit Sharma to skip the game for some family commitments. Rohit will be back to lead for the final two matches,” as per a report in Cricket.com.au.
The 29-year-old all-rounder, who captained Gujarat Titans to title win in their maiden appearance in the Indian Premier League 2022 season, is already the incumbent leader for India in the shortest format.