The Indian skipper, Hardik Pandya had acknowledged that he wanted to bat first in the recently concluded first T20I against Sri Lanka in Mumbai and it surprised quite a few people. If truth be told, it was surprising more so because it came from someone who had played the fifth-highest number of T20s at the Wankhede Stadium and was expected to be well-versed with teams’ knack of sealing run-chases here.
Hardik Pandya gave the reason behind his decision of not bowling first was that he wanted to challenge his comparatively inexperienced players by throwing them out of their comfort zone.
“I want to put this team in difficult situations because it will help us in big games,” Pandya told Star Sports during the post-match presentation ceremony tonight. Although unconventional, Hardik’s both decisions fell into place as India beat Sri Lanka by 2 runs after Patel managed to defend 13 runs in the 20th over.
Pandya, who scored a mediocre 29 (27) in the first innings, conceded just 12 runs in his three economical powerplay overs. Opening the bowling for India, Pandya couldn’t pick a wicket himself but acknowledged how the likes of Shivam Mavi and Umran Malik picked bowling figures of 8-0-49-6 between them.
Unfortunately, having not won a Player of the Match award on his international debut, Pandya showing utmost faith in Mavi in his first match is an award in itself. “I have seen him [Shivam Mavi] bowl well in the IPL and I know what are his strengths. Just back yourself and don’t worry about getting hit,” Pandya revealed his advice to the debutant.
Top team performance to start off the year 👏🇮🇳 A big thank you to the fans that came out and supported us today🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/VxB68ZLVkn
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 3, 2023
In addition to some Indian batters throwing away their wickets and spinners getting hit for boundaries, a significant moment of concern for Indian fans during the match was seeing Hardik Pandya struggle with fitness-related issuers on a couple of occasions.
Pandya, who bowled three overs on the trot, seemed to be slightly jittery after his initial spell of the match. The skipper of the home team was again the center of attraction right after he backpedaled to grab a catch. While the Indian skipper completed the catch successfully, he was immediately seen in pain resulting in walking off the ground for a brief period.
Talking about the same, Hardik Pandya said, “It is just cramps. Now I have tendency to scare people but if I am smiling [on the field], then everything is fine. It was a rough [last] night. I was unwell, did not sleep well and had my fluids down. Hence, the glutes were stiff.”