India vs England, 1st Test: Back in red-ball cricket with Team India, says Hardik Pandya as he shares training photos

India vs England, 1st Test: Back in red-ball cricket with Team India, says Hardik Pandya as he shares training photos
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India vs England, 1st Test: Back in red-ball cricket with Team India, says Hardik Pandya as he shares training photos 

Highlights

India's all-rounder Hardik Pandya delighted the Indian fans by sharing some photos from a training session of the Indian cricket team ahead of the...

India's all-rounder Hardik Pandya delighted the Indian fans by sharing some photos from a training session of the Indian cricket team ahead of the first Test against England, starting Friday in Chennai.

In the photos, Pandya is seen training along with teammates such as Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and bowling coach Bharat Arun.

The other photos were of Pandya batting at the nets and also undergoing fielding practice. "Back with #TeamIndia. Back on home soil. Back in red ball cricket, "wrote Pandya along with the pictures on social media.



Pandya, who missed the four-match Test series in Australia, was included in India's 18-man squad for the first two Tests against England. He was a part of India's limited-overs series Down Under and returned home to spend time with his wife and son Agastya.

It has been a tough few days for Pandya after the death of his father Himanshu Pandya, who passed away due to a cardiac arrest on Jan. 16. In a heart-breaking post days later, the Mumbai Indians superstar said that losing his father was the 'most difficult things to accept in life'.

If Pandya is included in India's playing XI for the first Test, that would mark his comeback to the longest format after two years. He last played a Test for India back in September 2018 against England in Southampton.

Since then, he has undergone a back surgery that has restricted his ability to bowl. As a result, he did not find a place in the Indian side for the Test series in Australia.

On the eve of the opening Test against England, Indian skipper Virat Kohli confirmed on Thursday that Rishabh Pant will retain his place in the side after his heroics Down Under.

"Rishabh (Pant) will start tomorrow. He had a massive impact in Australia and is in a good head space. We want to continue with him. The Chepauk pitch looks good to bat on, but I think it will also have something for the quicks. The combination we have had in the past, where players can bat and bowl, will be our outlook going forward," Kohli said at a pre-match press conference on Thursday.

After missing out in the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval last year, Pant played the remaining three Tests against Australia and finished as India's leading run-scorer with 274 runs at an average of 68.50. He played a match-winning unbeaten knock of 89 runs off 138 balls during India's chase of 338 on the final day of the last Test at the Gabba.

Pant's heroics led India to their first-ever Test win in Brisbane and also handed Australia their first Test loss at the venue in as long as 32 years.

India are set to host an international match after a gap of 11 months. The four-match Test series will decide which team will face off against New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) at Lord's Cricket Ground later in the year. After Australia decided not to tour South Africa because of the pandemic, Kane Williamson's side automatically qualified for the final.

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