India spinner Harbhajan Singh stated that the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya from the Test series could prove ‘fatal’ for Team India ahead of the Nottingham Test against England on August 4. The previous time when India faced England at Trent Bridge, the all-rounder’s impact was crucial in India’s only win in the five-match Test series back in 2018. The all-rounder went on to claim a fifer and a half century which proved decisive in India’s victory in Nottingham.
Ahead of the first Test match against England, Harbhajan took to his YouTube channel to claim that Pandya’s absence could prove fatal for Team India as he was the match-winner in the previous outing. Other than Pandya, skipper Virat Kohli scored a century in the second innings and Jasprit Bumrah claimed a fifer as well as India thumped England by a whopping 203 runs to win the Nottingham Test.
One of the main reasons Harbhajan felt India will feel at disadvantage going into the Test is the absence of bowlers who could swing the ball. The veteran spinner believes England are always ‘delighted’ to play in conditions where the bowlers are able to make the ball swing. Trent Bridge is known as Jimmy Anderson’s hunting ground and the veteran spearhead will only look to add more to his evergreen wicket tally.
Pandya last played a Test match was in Southampton against England in the 2018 series as he picked up a severe back injury which has led to the all-rounder now specializing in batting only. Due to multiple back injuries, Pandya is unable to bowl long spells and in order to reduce the pain and agony on his back, Pandya is sticking to batting.The all-rounder did not bowl in the 2021 Indian Premier League and was not picked for the World Test Championship final and the England series as well.
In the Nottingham Test in 2018, England won the toss and opted to bowl, a decision till date Joe Root could be regretting. India posted a challenging first innings score of 329 with Kohli missing out on a century by three runs and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane chipping in with a handy 81 runs. However, the Indians ran riot as England were bundled out for 161, courtesy of Pandya’s 5/28.
In the second innings, Kohli finally notched up his century, his second of the series whereas Pujara (72) and Pandya (52) added more to England’s woes as India declared at 352/7. England were unable to fight back despite Buttler scoring a valiant century as India went on to win the memorable match by 203 runs.