India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has defended the team management’s decision to play two spinners in the ongoing second Test at Lord’s. India dropped Umesh Yadav to play Kuldeep Yadav as second spinner alongside Ravichandran Ashwin in the Lord’s Test.
However, both Ashwin and Kuldeep failed to make any impact on third day as England reached 357/6 at the close of play taking a substantial lead of 250 runs.
“Obviously they [team management] had some thought behind it [picking the second spinner]. I don’t get into that too much. I think three pacers [including himself] were enough to be honest,” Pandya told reporters at the end of third day’s play on Saturday.
“We did enough and we bowled properly. We gave whatever we had to give. As I told you, today’s wicket was the wicket we expected [at Lord’s from Day 1] and it was a proper call. If this was a five-day game, spinners would’ve come into play. But because of the rain and everything, it was short and there’s not many footmarks and it was not gripping that much. If this was a five-day game, things would have been different,” Pandya said.
Pandya also said the bowlers were not getting assistance from the pitch after the lunch break on Saturday.
It was a 189-run sixth-wicket stand between Chris Woakes (120 batting) and Jonny Bairstow (93) that has put England in the driver’s seat. India will now need a miracle to make a comeback.
“Nothing happened (after lunch). That was the problem. As a bowling unit, we tried but all of a sudden the ball stopped swinging and they Woakes and (Jonny) Bairstow took the game away. It happens I’ve seen in Tests. You get four or five wickets quickly and then you get one partnership. Even with our batting line-up, it has happened many times. It’s just a part of the game,” Pandya said.
Also read – India fall behind as Woakes, Bairstow dominate
Pandya said even England would have struggled in those conditions had they batted first.
“Any team would have got the same score which we got because playing in those conditions [was tough], a little drizzle was there, and wicket got a little wet as well.
“Today the conditions were different. When we bowled today, there was proper sunlight. The wicket was the ideal one, which we would have expected on the first day. But because of the conditions, the pitch started doing a lot.”
There has been a lot of discussion about whether Pandya is a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder and the maverick from Baroda put it how he perceives himself.
“If I am batting, I think as a batsman and if I am bowling, I think as a bowler. I don’t have any one particular role.”
He further added: “My role when I bowl, I like to keep it tight and try to make sure that the batsman make mistakes. I don’t try much stuff. Keep it tight and let’s see what they do. And we know that they love to play shots and playing like that you will tend to make one mistake. We were expecting that they will (make mistakes).”
Toss played a big role as England captain Joe Root was able to make most of the helpful bowling conditions but the Indian all-rounder made it clear that he never believed that there’s any such thing called luck in cricket.
“I don’t believe in luck too much. Whatever happens is down to hard work. And this is a game, where they won the toss and put us into bat. If we had won the toss, we could have had them in the same position. But it is not.
“Luck doesn’t come into this, and it is just a way of saying things. We will keep working hard and try hard and see what happens then,” Pandya signed off.
(With inputs from PTI)