Warm-up game good opportunity to impress selectors, says Hardik
Ready to wait for his turn to make his debut in Test cricket, India ‘A’ skipper Hardik Pandya said the warm-up game against Australia, on Friday, would be a great opportunity for fringe players to impress the selectors ahead of the four-Test series.
"It will be good opportunity for all of us, specially me to perform and get the opportunity to play in the Test series, it will be a good opportunity for the youngsters as well, who are there to show what they have," Hardik said.
"We are not treating it as a practice game, it's an opportunity for all of us to do something amazing and get recognised in the selectors eyes."
Hardik, who has been dubbed as a limited overs expert, has improved as a seamer and a good show against the visitors may force skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble to keep him in their plans for the first two Test matches.
"I have played against Australia ‘A’. This will be an amazing experience. Australians, you all know how they are and how aggressive they are, it will be nice competition for all of us," he added.
The Gujarat allrounder has played 7 ODIs and 19 T20s but is yet to make his Test debut despite being picked in the squad against England and Bangladesh.
Asked how it has helped him to be a part of the team, Hardik said, "I feel its a learning curve for me, I should be learning lots of things staying with the team and it always helps. I am improving my game day by day. That was the only reason that I thought I made a comeback after a poor Indian Premier League. I want to focus on improving my game," he said.
With Kumble and Kohli backing him as a seam all-rounder, Hardik said it has boosted his confidence.
"Definitely it helps a lot when someone like Virat bhai and Anil Sir (back me), it grows your confidence when two legends like them support, you know that your captain is backing you, it is always helpful. I am learning a lot of things from them and other players. It helps a lot," he said.
"Everything comes on the right time. Whenever they feel that I am ready to play Test cricket I will be playing the game. But as I said Test cricket is something amazing to learn, so I am learning new tricks in my game and I am just trying to improve.
"I will be pretty happy if I make a debut (in the series against Australia). As I said opportunity will come when it suppose to come. It is all about process and I am doing it right now," he said.
Hardik also said one needs to get used to switching format if one has to play in the national team.
"To play for national team, you need to get used to that (switch to different formats) as I am getting used to it. We played England series and after 4-5 days we played the Bangladesh game," he said.
"It is difficult, but it is about the mental thing, how you work, because the legends which are playing right now, are doing it for years. We should also learn, things won't be easy and mentally people in this team (India ‘A’) are strong and they are going to get used to conditions."
The 23-year-old had sustained a hairline fracture on his right shoulder at a net session during the Mohali Test in November and was released from the Test squad against England.
Talking about the injury, he said, "You cannot stop injuries. When I got injured that was not my fault, the ball came and hit me. It was not a fitness issue. I have got lot of injuries before as well. It is part and parcel of game."
Asked if he has any plans for Australian opener David Warner, Hardik said, "I haven't made any plans. They have done a lot of things for their country, we should only look to do what we can do, instead of thinking what they will do. Cricket is a funny game, you score a hundred today and tomorrow you might get out on zero.
So does he needs to alter his game for Test cricket? "I don't think so. In cricket, you need to play according to the situation. Sometimes in ODI, you need to play like Test cricket and sometimes in Test cricket, you need to play like ODI," Hardik said.
"One thing which I learned from Rahul Sir (Rahul Dravid) in Australia is that cricket is all about situations. You need to play according to situation. Whatever the situation demands or your team requires, you need to play accordingly, its all about that."