‘Ye meri team hai...’: Hardik Pandya Gave A Bold Reply To Query On Sanju Samson, Umran Malik's Non-Selection
Hardik Pandya on Tuesday added another trophy to his cabinet as he led the Indian cricket team to a 3-match T20I series win against New Zealand by 1-0. Hardik's rise as a successful captain began with the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League, where he led his side Gujarat Titans to their maiden IPL trophy in his first attempt as a captain. He then led the Indian side in a series against New Zealand and Ireland.
He has impressed one and all with his cool demeanor under pressure and his ideology of having the firecracker brand of cricket, a strategy that Team India has been following lately. After the conclusion of the third T20I in Napier, Hardik Pandya was asked some difficult questions. He was asked if his philosophy, as a captain, is the same, i.e., start hitting right from the beginning. Responding to this, he said:
“To be honest, I have tried my best to give freedom to my player so that he can go out and express himself. Whosoever has come here to play international cricket, he have had played many games before. So, the same ideology was there in the World Cup. Obviously, things we couldn’t implement are getting highlighted. But going forward, we won’t play with a single mindset. The mandate would be to go, enjoy, and if you feel like hitting right from the first ball, just hit. The player will have the full support and will be backed thoroughly,”
He was also asked about the exclusion of Sanju Samson and Umran Malik from the playing XI. Ahead of the third T20I, there were rumors that team India might give a chance to Sanju and Umran. He said:
"Pahli baat toh bahar kaun kya bol raha hai usse ye level pe fadak nahi padta. Ye meri team hai,ht coach aur mujhe jo theek lagega, jo side hume chahie hoga (hum wo khilayenge). Bohut samay hai. Sabko muka milega aur jab mauka milega lamba milega. Agar bada series hota, zyada matches hote toh obviously opportunities zyada hote. Ye chhota series tha, main zyada chiop and change mein believe nei karta aur age bhi believe nei karunga."
(which roughly translates to: First things first, who is saying what outside, doesn't really affect us at this level. This is my team and I'll pick the best side after discussing with the coach. There is ample of time. Everyone will get their chances and when they do, it will be a long run. This was a small series, if we had more matches then we could have tried out more players),"
Further, Hardik gave Deepak Hooda's example to further strengthen his point, adding that the team management wanted a sixth-bowling option so they tried out Hooda and it worked well for the side. Deepak Hooda picked up four wickets in the 2nd T20I and was good in the last match as well. He said:
"Jaise mujhe six-bowling option chahie tha aur woh cheeez is tour mein aya hai jaise Deepak ne ball dala hai. Thoda thoda karke agar aise batsman chip in karte rahenge (with the ball) toh aapke paas bohut sare mauke honge naye bowlers use karke opponents ko surprise karne ka."
(which roughly translates to: For example, I wanted a six-bowling option and Deepak did that very well. If the batters start to chip in with the ball then we will have options to surprise the opposition),"
Chasing a total of 161 runs to win, the Indian cricket team was struggling at 21 for three in 2.5 overs but Pandya smashed three boundaries and a six to take the visitors to 75 for four, which proved to be at par with the DLS score when the match was called off because of rain. Both the teams shared the honors with the Indian side clinching the 3 match series by 1-0, courtesy their 65-run win in the second game on Sunday.
"Would have liked to win the game by playing the full overs, but it is what it is. At some point, I felt attack is the best defence on this wicket," Hardik said.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya will now head home as Shikhar Dhawan will take the charge of Indian cricket team to lead the side in the upcoming 3-match ODI series, starting Friday.