New Delhi, Nov 14: Young India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has revealed that he voluntarily requested the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to rest him from India's squad against Sri Lanka for the first two Tests.
The 24-year-old cricketer from Baroda has said that he asked for the rest to recover from the niggles he contracted due to the amount of cricket he has played.
"To be honest, I asked for it. My body wasn't up to it, I was getting niggles because of the amount of cricket that I have played. I want to play cricket when I am totally up for it when I can give my 100 percent," Pandya was quoted by CNN-News18 as saying.
Pandya has played for India in the 30 off 33 international games in this season, which started with the ICC Champions Trophy. The youngster has performed exceptionally well so far and has established himself as an important member of the Indian side.
Ever since his maiden century against Sri Lanka - that was just the second Test of his career - the right-handed batsman proved he has a promising career in the longest format of the game as well. Many felt Pandya if given a chance against Sri Lanka at home, will repeat his performance against Lankan bowlers.
But the cricketer feels he has played too much of cricket in such a short span and hence wants to give his body some rest ahead of a challenging overseas tour.
"I have not played this much cricket in my total cricketing career in such a short time. As an all-rounder, it's difficult. I do my bowling, I do my batting, I do fielding as well, and managing my workload is very important right now because I have not played much cricket in my life.
"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 South Africa series. I would like to use this break to improve my fitness for the series," he said.
Meanwhile, cricket experts, including former India captain Sourav Ganguly, seemed surprised by the board's decision to rest Pandya ahead of Kolkata Test.
Ganguly felt Team India would require the services of the Baroda all-rounder on a pace-friendly Eden Gardens track.
"I'm surprised," Ganguly, who is also the president of Cricket Association of Bengal, told reporters on Sunday. "I don't know if he's injured. He has played only three Tests... This is the age to play. I don't know the exact reason. Hope he's fit.
"India won't play with three spinners, definitely not at the Eden Gardens as the pitch here is different. They will play with two spinners and now since they don't have Hardik Pandya they may have a different combination for the all-rounder's slot."