hardik pandya ms dhoni sportstiger

India’s new T20I captain Hardik Pandya is enjoying the challenge of leading the team as well as being that pillar everyone can lean on. After defeating New Zealand by a record margin of 168 runs in the series decider on Wednesday, India captain Hardik Pandya talked about various aspects of captaincy- from leading the team from the front to ensuring everyone is in their happy space. 

DOWNLOAD SportsTiger app for fastest LIVE SCORES

Meanwhile, Pandya also touched upon the topic of his changed role in the team ever since the departure of former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The India T20I skipper has said that ever since Dhoni retired, the responsibility to finish games and absorb all the pressure down the order has fallen on his shoulders. Pandya then said that he don’t mind playing that role even if it means sacrificing his strike rate. 

“I don’t mind playing the role that, somewhere down the line, Mahi used to play. At that time, I was young and hitting all around the park. But since he’s gone, all of a sudden, that responsibility is onto me. I don’t mind that. We are getting the results. It’s okay if I have to play a little slow,” said Pandya said in the post-match press conference. 

“I’ve always enjoyed hitting sixes. But that’s life; I’ve to evolve. I’ve believed in partnerships and want to give my batting partner and team some assurance and calmness that I’m there. I’ve played more games than any of these guys; I’ve learned how to accept and swallow pressure and make sure everything is calm,” Pandya added. 

The Indian captain who also won the Man of the Series award for his contributions with both bat and ball also talked about his decision to open the bowling for India. Pandya said that he did not want young bowlers like Arshdeep Singh to go under the pump straight away.

“I had to bowl with the new ball [in T20Is] because Arshdeep Singh… I don’t want any new guy to come and have that difficult role of [bowling first up with the new ball] because if they’re put under pressure, then we’re chasing the game,” Hardik said. “So, I’ve always been [like] leading from the front and I’ve been working on my new-ball skills, which is helping me,” he explained.