India’s stand-in skipper, Hardik Pandya made his captaincy debut and win the toss against Ireland in Malahide. However, some fans were shocked to see the playing XI and realized Sanju Samson has been excluded as Deepak Hooda was put in at number three which had certainly angered RR skipper’s fans on social media. Later former Indian pacer, Ashish Nehra explained why Hooda was preferred over Samson in the opening T20I against Ireland.
During a chat on Sony Liv, Ashish Nehra said, “No, it’s not a tough call at all. Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi has come in place of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Deepak Hooda was already in the squad and even Venkatesh Iyer didn’t play a match against South Africa. And the kind of performance, Deepak Hooda did in IPL as he is one of those players who played for Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy, the whole season he scored runs, then in the IPL also.”
He further added, “He started the tournament, playing at 5 or 6 (for LSG) and then he was promoted to number three and there also he did well. So his confidence must be high.”
Explaining the reason why Sanju could have been ignored, a Twitter user wrote: “Going by hierarchy by the looks of it. Deepak Hooda picked ahead of Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi since he was in the squad for the SA T20s as well.”
Going by hierarchy by the looks of it. Deepak Hooda picked ahead of Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi since he was in the squad for the SA T20s as well #IREvIND
— Soorya Sesha (@sooryasesha7) June 26, 2022
While, Ashish Nehra also added, “And it is good to see that he was in the squad before Samson arrived and he was backed before him. He is a sincere player and we know there are so many T20 games coming. And as we saw the squad was same in all five games against South Africa, he would hope that he is persisted with.”
Meanwhile, Umran Malik also received his maiden India cap and he replaced Harshal Patel. Speaking further about this Jammu pacer, Virender Sehwag said the tables have now turned. Earlier India used to lack the pace battery, Sehwag said the situation has now reversed.
Virender Sehwag explained, “The best thing is that he (Malik) has got an opportunity to play the IPL, even if it is against Ireland. And this is not like that he got his opportunity because players are not there. There are very few people who bowl consistently at 150, very less. I don’t care if he picks wickets or not, if he bowls at 150 plus, I am sure he will be feared. When we used to tour earlier, we used to think that we don’t have the pace battery like the opposition. But now it is the exact opposite.”