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‘If Hardik Pandya Stayed Fit…’: Nasser Hussain Says India Need Someone Like Ben Stokes, Mitchell Marsh to Succeed in Overseas Tests

Hardik Pandya last played a Test in September 2018. (AFP Photo)

Hardik Pandya last played a Test in September 2018. (AFP Photo)

India are a formidable unit in home conditions but Nasser Hussain feels they can improve in away Tests with the addition of an allrounder who can deliver 10-15 overs of pace.

Nasser Hussain feels that India need a seam bowling allrounder to become a formidable Test team when playing away home. Whole acknowledging how India have been brilliant in home conditions, the former England captain pointed out that their balance in overseas Tests suffers a bit due to the absence of a quality allrounder who can deliver 10-15 overs of pace bowling.

“They (India) are brilliant at home… and the balance of their side at home is just wonderful,” Hussain said in the ICC Review on Wednesday.

Citing the example of leading allrounders including England captain Ben Stokes and Australia’s Mitchell Marsh, Hussain said India need a batter who can bowl.

“(However) An Indian cricketer at the moment, a (Ben) Stokes type cricketer, a Cameron Green type cricketer, a Mitchell Marsh type cricketer, a batter at No.6 or No.7, away from home, that can bowl you 10 or 15 overs of genuine wicket-taking seam and swing, not a bowler who bats a bit, a batter who can give you 10 overs of seam bowling, and then that balance away from home makes them (India) formidable,” he said.

Hardik Pandya hasn’t played Test cricket ever since he underwent back surgery and there’s no indication from him that he would be returning anytime soon.

That, Hussain feels, has left a big void.

“They’ve (India) got senior players like Rohit and obviously Virat and they are just world-class players and they’ve got youngsters coming in, like Shubman (Gill), who’s going to be a superstar,” he said.

“It’s away from home and the balance of the side and if they (India) can get a seam bowling all-rounder. Hardik (Pandya) would’ve been perfect if Hardik had stayed fit and continued that process,” he added.

India are also missing the services of Jasprit Bumrah who has been battling fitness concerns of his own having last played competitive cricket in September 2022.

“If Jasprit (Bumrah) can come back as well, one of the great multi-format bowlers there is at the moment, if not the best, when fit. So, they’ve got those senior players and youngsters, and with the ball in India, those three all-rounders, and they are genuine all rounders in India — Axar (Patel), (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin. That, for me, is a really balanced side because then you’ve got a No.7 (in Test cricket),” Hussain said.

Hussain who now is a popular commentator, says he’s heard good things about Yashasvi Jaiswal who recently made his Test debut with a century.

“From what I’ve seen…he’s (Jaiswal) made a fantastic start. You speak to people who have seen him in the IPL, again I’ve been working with Ricky (Ponting) and Dinesh (Karthik) came over, and you ask questions, and they all go, yeah, this lad can play,” Hussain said.

“He looks to have the technique and he looks to have that mindset. Like most young Indian players and batters in particular, most of them come in and have immediate success. And that is a good sign for first-class cricket, that they are being produced, not just the IPL,” he added.

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