The Baroda player Hardik had decided to skip the Ranji Trophy, which began on February 17, to focus on his India comeback in white-ball cricket.
Asked about why Pandya was skipping Ranji Trophy, Sharma said, “If somebody does not want to play, the selection committee does not interfere, in the state matters.”
“You can ask Hardik why he is not playing Ranji Trophy? We are seeing those who are playing Ranji Trophy and those who are performing. We are happy to see players playing Ranji Trophy and performing,” Sharma was blunt in his response.
He agreed that till the time Hardik played, he was an important member of the team.
“Look, definitely Hardik was a very important part of the Indian team,” Sharma said when asked about Pandya’s availability.
Sharma made it clear till the time clear report emerges on his bowling fitness status, he won’t be considered.
“(But) after the injuries, we will now say that if he is 100 percent fit, ready to go and also if he is bowling and match fitness and all, we we will consider him immediately,” Sharma said at the virtual post-selection press conference when asked about Hardik Pandya.
Pandya has remained on the sidelines ever since the T20 World Cup last year, making himself unavailable for national selection due to back injury and further rehabilitation.
The 28-year-old, who received a lot of flak for not bowling during India’s dismal T20 World Cup campaign, hasn’t played red ball cricket since December 2018 and has often admitted that injuries have put a spanner on his prospects in the longest format of the game.
Sharma was livid when a journalist rather than asking a question made a comment that selectors will now pick him when he declares himself fit and available during start of IPL where he is leading Gujarat Titans and why he is not making his fitness status clear.
“Look, the most important thing is, like I said before, you can speak to him (Hardik), you would be having his (mobile) number.”
“Number two, you are not a member of the selection committee to tell that whether he will be selected or not. The five selection committee members are there with me. Who gets selected and who does not, that we will decide, not you. But what he has to do, who will play what, let things come, you support a kid, don’t go behind him,” Sharma said.
He urged people not to pull him down when he is going through a rough time.
“What Hardik has done for the country is not a thing which can be forgotten in a minute, support him,” the chairman signed off.