When asked about Sanju Samson and Umran Malik’s non-selection, India’s stand-in captain for the T20I leg of the tour, Hardik Pandya, said the ones who didn’t get a game in the series will definitely get a long run in the future.
In the two opportunities that India got – the series-opener in Wellington was rained out without a ball being bowled – in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, they decided not to play x-factor players like Sanju Samson and Umran Malik in the XI, much to the surprise of many. After the T20 World Cup exit, the popular belief was that India will inject an out-an-out seamer in the T20I set-up and play more free-flowing batters but their decision to bench Samson and Malik painted a different picture. When asked about Samson and Umran’s non-selection, India’s stand-in captain for the T20I leg of the tour, Hardik Pandya, said the ones who didn’t get a game in the series will definitely get a long run in the future.
“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. (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),” Hardik said in the press conference after the third T20I in Napier ended in a tie via DLS method.
A long uninterrupted run is what Samson and Umran would be hoping for. The due have been travelling almost regularly with the limited-overs side but their opportunities to play in XI have been limited. While Umran Malik is still pretty raw, Samson has been going through this ordeal for close to three years now.
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. The off-spinner picked up four wickets in the second T20I and did a good job even on Tuesday.
“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. (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),” he said.
Chasing 161 to win, India were 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 due to rain.
The two teams thus shared the honours with India clinching the three-match series 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.
Hardik will now head home as Shikhar Dhawan will step in to lead the side in the three-match ODI series starting Friday.