Hardik Pandya was the star of the show as he first scored 50 runs with the bat and then went on to take four wickets as India defeated England by 50 runs in the first T20I of the three-match series on Thursday at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. Hardik’s knock of 50 helped India post 198/8 in 20 overs and then he took crucial wickets to ensure India stays on top. Hardik went on to take the wickets of Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran.
After the game, Hardik spoke to reporters during a press conference, and he talked about his performance and mindset in general.
“Obviously, right now I am not thinking much about what I’ll be playing in the future and all that. Right now, i am focusing on as many games, I am available for India, that will be my intention. And talking about today’s performance, obviously it is always good to perform when your team requires and when your team wins. For me, it was simple, what my team required and doing what I know. I believe the hard work pays off, my point is to prepare well, the result is not in my control. Right now, all is coming off, today is a good day, tomorrow might be bad. So, you don’t know, it is all about working hard, life goes on,” said Hardik.
“I will give equal importance to my batting and bowling today. That 50 was important as well because we had lost wickets, but we maintained the momentum and we reached a good score. But the bowling bit will take more credit because that spell brought us in the game and made it difficult for England to stay in the game,” he added.
When asked whether he wants to play the red-ball format, Hardik said: “It depends on how and what we are playing. This is a white-ball season as World Cups are around the corner. I have always seen that right now the maximum white-ball matches I can play that is important, when Tests will come, definitely. What to play, only time will tell, but right now it is about giving my 100 per cent and if i don’t, then I’ll go out. I won’t take someone’s place.”
Talking about the performance of youngsters and India’s bench-strength, the all-rounder said: “We as a team, it is a very confidence booster. Our regular five players are not there, and they will join so the team will get better only. The new guys are expressing themselves; India’s bench strength is increasing and it is seeming like there is a change in culture. You talked about batting, it is a conscious effort, credit goes to Rahul Dravid and the management, they said do one thing and just express yourself. When there is so much clarity, it is a big confidence booster. When we get out while hitting a shot, we don’t think like oh no, what shot we have played. So, credit goes to the coaches.”
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had bowled a perfect inswinger to get the better of in-form batter Jos Buttler and Hardik was full of praise.
“Everyone knows what Jos can do, it was a very big wicket. He is someone who can be a match-winner on any given day he decides. Actually, it took a special ball to get him out as well, the field was set for a outswinger and there was no mid-wicket and Bhuvi doing what he does best, kind of bluffing the batter, setting him up and delivering the ball which he delivered, it was fantastic,” said Hardik.
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