New Delhi: Yes, it happened. Indian selectors, in their bid to find another Kapil Dev, or say a genuine all-rounder, opted to give Hardik Pandya a Test call up.
The 23-year-old talent was included in the 15-man squad for the first two matches of the England series, which starts on November 9, at Rajkot.
But the inclusion of Pandya in the Test squad came as a surprise to many, and the immediate question that came knocking was, how good is he?
The Baroda all-rounder found his mark in the Indian Premier League, which is not near to the rigours and tests of five-day matches. In fact, unlike his team-mates in the Indian camp, he is considered a novice when it comes to traditional format of the game.
And the record speaks for itself. After making his Baroda debut in 2013, he has played only 16 First-class matches, scoring 727 runs at an average of 27.96 and taking 22 wickets at 33.72.
In fact, he is yet to score a First-class hundred, and his only five-wicket haul came last year. These are facts which will be looked into when the real grind begins in front of a global audience.
But the wise men in the selection committee have decided to overlook the obvious stats, and instead chosen to promote the talent in the hope that he is worth the investment.
He's, not doubt, a talent who needs nurturing. And in the absence of a class all-rounder in domestic circuit, the selectors might have done the right thing.
And chief selector, MSK Prasad has to say this about the player, "If you look at Hardik Pandya, his pace has increased. His overall personality has mellowed down. He did extremely well in the ODI series and also during the A tour Down Under."
Pandya did well in the four ODIs and 16 Twenty20Is he has so far played for the country. But, it will be a test by fire for the talented all-rounder to do replicate his limited overs' form in Test cricket.
And many think that with a winning attitude, he can sure fill the void left by Kapil Dev, and not just end up being a stop-gap arrangement like many of the previous all-rounders.