New Delhi - India all-rounder Hardik Pandya says he asked to be rested
for the upcoming Sri Lanka Tests at home and will use the time away to work on
his fitness for the tour to South Africa early next year.
Pandya was left out of India's squad for the first two games
of the three-match series against Sri Lanka with the BCCI announcing the
decision was taken to help reduce the chance of the player picking up an
The seamer and hard-hitting batsman has only missed three
games across all formats for India since the start of the Champions Trophy in
June and he has bowled more overs than anyone in world cricket in ODIs in that
period with 147 overs.
Pandya told CNN-News 18: "To be honest, I asked for it,
because my body was not alright.
"I want to play cricket when I'm totally fit and I'm
giving my 100% and I was not able to give that because of a few niggles here
and there, which is bound to happen because of the amount of cricket which I
have played over this one year."
Pandya said he will not be resting on his laurels during his
break as India have an important tour to South Africa coming up in January.
India will play three Tests against Proteas, with the first
game scheduled for Newlands from the 5 January, and Pandya is determined to
make his mark on away tours.
Pandya continued: "I'm lucky that I got this rest.
Actually, rest means I'm going to train in the gym and improve my fitness and
again come back properly fit. I'm pretty excited for the South Africa series.
"I wanted that break to get super fit for the South
Africa series and then I can bounce back quickly.
"People keep on talking about away series. People keep
on talking about England tours, South Africa tours, Australia tours, which is
important, which is hard. I like these kinds of challenges I keep on getting in
"That keeps me going all the time. It may be an
important thing for me, important to have an all-rounder who can contribute in
bowling and batting both.
"I might be the difference, let's see. I've never
played in South Africa. I'm pretty sure we're going to do well."