India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has indicated that he is open to the possibility of playing Test cricket, but has added that with both T20I and ODI World Cups coming up, his focus is on white-ball cricket at the moment. Hardik Pandya slammed 51 off 33 balls and then claimed 4 for 33 in his four overs in India’s 50-run win over England in the first T20I in Southampton, thus becoming the first Indian to score a fifty and take four wickets in a T20I.
“The last time I played a T20 in England, I think I took 4 wickets and scored some 30 (in the series win in Bristol, 2018). So I kind of knew I was the first Indian to score fifty and take 4 wickets,” Hardik Pandya said.
Pandya, who made his international comeback against South Africa at home in June, added that he would play only if he was fully fit and able to give his all in the middle. “I am enjoying my cricket right now. For me a lot of time goes into the preparation to get my body ready. The kind of break I took before this run of play I want to capitalize on the opportunities. I felt I needed that break. It is about giving your 100 per cent and when you don’t do that, there is no point playing. So I needed that break and now I am happy to be in this place right now.”
The all-rounder had been out of action since the 2021 T20 World Cup but then returned to lead debutant franchise Gujarat Titans to their maiden Indian Premier League title. He last played Test cricket in Southampton on the England tour of 2018.
“It depends on what we are playing. Right now, this is the white-ball season in a way, as big World Cups are coming up, and so the focus is more on white ball. Right now, the more white ball I can play for India, the better it is. When the opportunity comes for Tests, of course.
“What to play and what not to play only time will tell but for now, whatever games I can play, wherever I can give 100 per cent. If I am not able to give 100 per cent, I will go out (of the team) again. If I can play as a 100 per cent cricketer, only then will I play. I will not take anyone else’s place,” Pandya said.
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