Hardik Pandya, the stand-in captain for India, attributed his impressive performance in the third ODI against West Indies to a valuable chat with former skipper Virat Kohli. After a couple of underwhelming outings in the series, Pandya roared back to form, scoring an unbeaten 70 runs off 52 balls to propel India to a formidable total of 351/5 at the Brian Lara Stadium, Trinidad.
Reflecting on his innings, Pandya revealed that Kohli advised him to spend more time in the middle and get accustomed to the 50-over format. “I took it deep intentionally, wanted to have some time out in the middle. Had a great chat with Virat before the game, he wanted me to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the 50-over format,” Hardik Pandya said during the post-match presentation.
Pandya’s authoritative strokeplay was on full display, with a delightful off-drive and an elegant straight six off Yannic Cariah particularly standing out. He combined effectively with Suryakumar Yadav, adding 65 runs in 8.1 overs for the fifth wicket. While Pandya flourished, Suryakumar missed out on capitalizing on the opportunity.
The stand-in skipper expressed his gratitude to Kohli for sharing his valuable experience and advice, which helped Pandya regain his form. “Really thankful for him to share that experience with me. Once you hit one ball and get into rhythm things are very different. The ball was doing just a bit. Scoring 350 was always crucial,” he added.
India’s innings were further boosted by notable contributions from Ishan Kishan (77), Shubman Gill (85), and Sanju Samson (51). In response, the West Indies struggled immensely, slumping to 50 for six before eventually being bowled out for 151 in 35.3 overs. Shardul Thakur claimed four wickets, while Mukesh Kumar took three scalps for India.
Although Rohit Sharma and Kohli chose to rest for the second consecutive game, providing opportunities to World Cup hopefuls, the series outcome raises questions about India’s unsettled lineup, especially as the West Indies team itself is experiencing difficulties.