Prithvi Shaw ruled out of Australia Tests, Hardik Pandya to join India squad
India opener Prithvi Shaw will miss remainder of the Test series against Australia after failing to recover completely from the ankle injury he picked during the one-off warm-up match. Shaw twisted his left ankle in the field while attempting a catch in the deep in the tour match against New South Wales second XI in Sydney. Although the team management expected him to be fit in time for the Boxing Day Test, the BCCI has confirmed that Shaw will return home and be replaced byMayank Agarwal.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya who proved his fitness in a first-class game against Mumbai this week, will be travelling to Australia to link up with the Indian team. His state captain at Baroda, Kedar Devdhar, confirmed as much at the post-match press conference, and the same was confirmed by the BCCI which said Pandya was joining the squad as an additional member for the final two Tests of the series.
Hardik, who has been out of action with a back injury sustained during the Asia Cup in September, appeared in no particular discomfort as he got through a workload of 28 overs in the Ranji Trophy match at the Wankhede Stadium. He picked up a five-for in the first innings and added a couple more wickets in the second innings. Also on show was his batting ability as he struck 73 off 137 balls even as he kept losing partners at the other end.
The Indian team management is bound to treat Pandya's inclusion as a positive development, but simultaneously it would treat Shaw's exit as a setback. After a sparkling start to his Test career, where he finished as the Man of the Series against West Indies at home recently, Shaw started his Australian tour with a confident 50 against CA XI. Despite the freak injury India coach Ravi Shastri predicted a a "speedy recovery for Shaw. Shaw was then spotted doing light jogs during the ongoing second Test in Perth, briefly suggesting he was likely to be in contention for the third Test, starting December 26 in Melbourne.
For Agarwal, a prolific scorer in domestic cricket over the past few seasons for his state Karnataka, this is the second time he is part of the Indian Test squad after being part of the 15 in the home series against West Indies. Agarwal will be a strong contender for one of the opening slots because of the poor form of M Vijay and KL Rahul.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo