Indian captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday defended Hardik Pandya who has been rested from the first two Tests against Sri Lanka. During the press conference, Kohli said that every player plays over 30 games a year and people who have maximum workload need more rest. “Every cricketer plays 40 games a year. People who have maximum workload need more rest. I need rest as well,” Kohli said, as per ANI report. The comment came a day ahead of when India will lock horns against Sri Lanka in a three-match Test series. Pandya who took the headlines by storm with his performance against Australia has been the talk of the town ever since his name was omitted from the 16-man squad. Interestingly, on Wednesday, Pandya revealed that he himself had asked to be rested having played non-stop cricket in the recent past from IPL to ODIs and then making his Test debut in Sri Lanka earlier this year.
“To be honest, I asked for it. My body wasn’t up for it, I have some niggles because of the amount of cricket that I have played. I want to play cricket when I am totally up to it when I can give my 100 percent. I am lucky that I have got this break. I will train in the gym during this break and improve my fitness. I won’t lie, I am really excited about the South Africa series,” he said in an interview to CNN-News 18. “I would like to use this break to improve my fitness for the series. I have played 30 ODIs, 25 T20s and 3 Tests in last one year. If they are saying I have played less cricket then I want to tell them ‘I am sorry.’ As an all-rounder it’s even more difficult,” he added.
Pandya said he will remain positive ahead of the series and will play well. “Yes, I am really excited. People are talking about it. It’s a much-hyped series. I like challenges in life, they keep me going. As you said I am the missing link in the team, who knows I might be the difference there. I am sure we are going to play very well,” he said. When asked about the biggest turning point of his career, Pandya said: “My life changed when I got a chance to play for MI (Mumbai Indians) and then I never looked back. I had a small failure and that’s why I learned to be even more professional. You need to understand that some things are bad. That’s how you improve in life.” The India vs Sri Lanka first est will be played on Thursday at Eden Garden, Kolkata.