India lost the toss against England in the fifth Test match and England skipper Joe Root grabbed the opportunity with both the hands and opted to bat at the Kennington Oval.
Virat Kohli played safe in the fourth Test and played with the same combination that he fielded when India won the third Test, but this time he opted for some changes in the squad.
Debutant Hanuma Vihari became the 292nd player to represent India in Tests and he received his test cap from skipper Kohli. All-rounder Hardik Pandya made way for Hanuma Vihari in the team whereas Jadeja got a chance at the expense of R Ashwin.
Also Read: Hanuma Vihari gets his debut cap
R Ashwin had to be left out of the team because of his injury, but Pandya got dropped because of his blow-hot blow-cold form.
Twitterati expressed their happiness on the microblogging site and wished Vihari all the luck for his debut match.
So finally, Virat Kohli shows he can drop Hardik Pandya. #ENGvIND
— Gautam chauhan (@Gautamchauhan2) September 7, 2018
But I am so glad that useless Hardik Pandya is kicked out finally.
— I_Raghumm (@IRaghumm) September 7, 2018
— Arman Azhar (@ArmanAzhar3) September 7, 2018
— Dhaval Dave (@Dhaval_1911985) September 7, 2018
I was not a big fan of hardik Pandya in test cricket. He neither performs with the bat nor with the ball. And he brings that big open space for No 6. He is a good limited overs cricketer but he performs once in a blue moon in tests. Glad he is left out.#ENGvIND
— Freak 2.0 (@RunMachine_Vk18) September 7, 2018
Hardik Pandya DROPPED.
Justice prevails. #ENGvIND
— Gautam Sodhi (@GautamSodhi1) September 7, 2018
— Madam Jadeja 💃 (@madam_jadeja) September 7, 2018
It's so harsh on indian players who play #RanjiTrohy & #DuleepTrophy year after year
They play hard to get a place nd then chu @BCCI selects player like hardik pandya who has zero domestic experience on the basis of IPL ahead of them
— 👑🔥 (@Shubh_AD) September 7, 2018
It was also being speculated that young Prithvi Shaw could get a chance in the playing XI and Kohli might choose to drop opener KL Rahul. But all the rumours were put to rest after Kohli announced his playing XI and revealed two changes in the side with Vihari and Jadeja in the playing combination.
India have already lost the series against England but they will be aiming to win the dead rubber to finish the series on a high. Indian All-rounder Hardik Pandya was on the radar of the critics who were hitting out on him by saying that he couldn’t fulfil the responsibilities of an all-rounder. Pandya shined with the bat and the ball in the third Test where he returned with a five-fer and smashed a half-century, but he was unable to replicate his good form in the next match.
A few days earlier, Sunil Gavaskar said that India had underused the potential of Hardik Pandya.
“Hardik Pandya has the talent. He has shown glimpses of his talent in the past. But I feel India haven’t used Hardik Pandya as much as they should have either with the bat or ball,” Gavaskar said in an interview.