Hardik Pandya in press conference ahead of 1st ODI against Australia© AFP

The Indian cricket team has qualified for the World Test Championship final with a 2-1 victory over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In the summit clash, India will play Australia again, with the game scheduled to be held at the Oval in London in June. Hardik Pandya, who hasn’t played a Test match for India since August 2018, was asked about making it to the final in a press conference on Thursday. The all-rounder ruled himself out, suggesting it would not be ‘ethical’ for him to be selected for the match as he hasn’t ‘earned’ his spot.

Hardik spoke to the media on the eve of the first ODI against Australia. The all-rounder, who will be leading India in the match, said that he wants to go through the grind and then make a return in the Test team.

“No. I am an ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10% to reach there. I am not even a part of 1%. So, me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket.

“I will go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be for the WTC final or future Test series until I don’t feel that I have earned my spot”, he said.

Hardik has a decent captaincy experience under his belt, having led the Indian team in a total of 11 T20Is, winning 7 of them. But, captaining the team in ODIs will pose different challenges to the all-rounder. Senior players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, etc. remain in the squad, and their support would be of huge importance to Hardik as he looks to impress as an ODI skipper, a job he is likely to take full-time in a year’s time.

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In the second and third ODI, however, Rohit will return to lead the Indian team.

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