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Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: India’s stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya has come out in support for the players who have been benched in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand and assures them there will be enough opportunities in the future.
Flamboyant wicket-keeper batter Sanju Samson and speed merchant Umran Malik did not feature in any of the matches but Pandya says he doesn’t like tinkering with the winning combination.
“Had it been a bigger series and not three games, we could have played them. But I don’t believe in chop and change in a short series and going forward also that will be my philosophy,” Pandya said.

“It’s not difficult to handle the situation where players feel security. I share a cordial rapport with all players and the players I am unable to pick, there is nothing personal and even they know it. It is because of the combination I am not able to play them,” he said.
“I am a people’s man and if anyone feels otherwise, my doors are always open to come and have chat with me. I understand their feelings. Sanju Samson is an unfortunate case. We had to play him but for some strategic reason, we couldn’t play him,” he was frank in his admission.

The discussions, no matter how frank it is, players who miss out are bound to feel bad and Pandya empathises with them.
“I can understand that if I stand in his shoes that even if you are continuously benched for India. It is difficult, as much as I speak to them, it’s no consolation for not playing, but at same time, if I can repeat the point and keep healthy atmosphere, it’s fine.”

“If players are feeling bad, they can come and speak to me or the coach. Going forward, if I remain the captain, I don’t think that will be an issue. My behaviour and nature ensures that we are a close-knit unit.”
The all-rounder led India to a 1-0 series-win in New Zealand and is considered an ideal replacement of Rohit Sharma in the shortest format.
Pandya said if he is considered for leadership role in future, he will captain the side in his own way and his team will display the brand of cricket he knows the best.

He was asked how he perceives the views of Sunil Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri, who see in him a long-term captain.
“If people are saying, you feel good about it but till something happens (official announcement), you can’t say,” Pandya said after the rain-hit third T20.
“To be honest, my thing is simple, if I do one match or one series, I will lead the team my way, how I see and perceive the game. Whenever I am given the opportunity, I will always go out and play the brand of cricket I know.
As a unit, we will display my brand. As far as whatever (captaincy) comes in future, we will see,” the Baroda player said.
(With PTI Inputs)

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