India T20I captain Rohit Sharma spoke about the potential return of the versatile Hardik Pandya to the India team on Tuesday ahead of the T20 World Championships in Australia later this year.
Ahead of the T20I series opener against the West Indies in Kolkata, Rohit spoke to the press about Hardik's importance in the India team, although he admitted that the team had not discussed whether he can play solely as a batter in the team.
"Hardik Pandya is an important player, he brings three skills to the table. We have not had a discussion on whether he can play as pure batter or not. It is about everyone being available. Since the T20 World Cup, we have had injuries. The important thing is to get everyone available, once they are available, we will look at the second step,” he said.
“The door is open for everyone, we do not make decisions quickly, we want to go with the right combination because, in Australia, you will get different conditions. You will require different skillsets there, we want to prepare accordingly and we want to cover all the bases,” he added.
Hardik last represented India at the T20 World Cup last October, where he played in two games after management was heavily criticized for playing for the Baroda-based cricketer as the team's batsman despite being selected as the all-rounder.
Following the tournament, he made himself unavailable from all limited-overs tournament although Hardik will be available for the impending 15th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he will captain Gujarat Titans.
Speaking of the T20I vs West Indies series, the race kicks off Wednesday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India started the ODI series with a 3-0 win over Kiron Pollard's men in Ahmedabad.