Former India star batsman VVS Laxman prefers all-rounder Hardik Pandya over Karun Nair in the playing XI for the first Test match against England, considering his all-round skill sets.
Laxman is a firm believer of the “five bowler theory” and wants Pandya to open the bowling with Mohammed Shami, with Amit Mishra playing as the third specialist spinner.
“I like the five-bowler theory. Especially the depth of this Indian team. Ashwin is in good (batting) form, Wriddhiman Saha in good form, Ravindra Jadeja is in good form. I would love to see Amit Mishra in action for the way in which he bowled against New Zealand. He is a proven match-winner, three quality spinners can put a lot of pressure on this England batting line-up,” Laxman said during an interaction organised by the Star Sports on the eve of the England series.
Laxman gave an elaborate explanation as to why he wants Pandya in place. “I think that (Pandya with new ball) can be an option and that’s one of the reasons that he has been drafted into the team. With Hardik, he is bowling at more than 140 kmph now, he is now more consistent in his line and length. He can also give those 10 or 15 overs that the other fast bowlers can give. Hardik will definitely be my choice,” said Laxman.
As for the lone specialist fast bowler, Shami is his choice for his ability to reverse the old ball. “There will be reverse swing in Indian conditions. The dryness of the wicket will definitely scruff off the ball. I would start with Shami as I was really impressed with his bowling against New Zealand, so I would go with Shami.”