In the absence of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami many fans and experts expected to see the likes of Sanju Samson or Umran Malik getting a game in the recently-concluded T20I series against New Zealand, which the tourists won 1-0 after a washout and rain-hit tie. But, the Indian team management did’t give a single same to either Samson or Umran and even Shubman Gill and Kuldeep Yadav warmed the bench.
After the third match, which ended in a tie due to rain, India’s stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya was quizzed about Samson and Umran’s non-selection. Answering the query, Hardik mentioned that in this short series it was hard to give everyone a game. However, he also reckoned that players who were left out would soon get a chance in the playing XI.
“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 it 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),” said Hardik in the post-match presser.
The Baroda-lad further gave Deepak Hooda’s example to strengthen his point, stating that team management wanted a sixth-bowling option, so they went with Hooda, and it worked. Notably, the off-spinner picked up four wickets in the second T20I and did a relatively good job in the series decider 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),” added Hardik.