Why Didn’t Ruturaj Gaikwad Open For India in Dublin? Captain Hardik Pandya Explains – SportsMediaz

In the chase of 109 against Ireland in the rain-curtailed first T20I, India took the field with a Ishan Kishan who had Deepak Hooda for company as his opening partner. The sight of the duo walking together was a bit of surprise since Ruturaj Gaikwad has been the designated opener since the South Africa T20I series at home.

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In fact, Gaikwad didn’t come to bat even after India had lost three wickets in the chase raising few eyebrows. Later on, during a virtual media interaction, India captain Hardik Pandya clarified that Gaikwad has a niggle in his calf and therefore he decided against putting him at risk by asking to open.

“Rutu (Gaikwad) had a niggle in his calf. We had the opportunity of taking a risk and sending him in to open, but I was not okay with it,” Pandya said.

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He continued, “A player’s well-being is more important, and I thought we’ll be able to manage what happens in the match. It was quite simple after that, there wasn’t much of a decision to make, whatever our batting-order numbers were, we all went up one spot, and it wasn’t a headache. We wanted to make sure we weren’t taking any chances with Rutu.”

However, the makeshift opener Hooda gave a solid account of himself as her struck an unbeaten 47 with India overhauling the target in 9.2 overs.

India gave debut to pace sensation Umran Malik but he bowled just one over and leaked 14 runs in it. Pandya said the youngster needs to be given time before and he’s okay with whatever he did in his first match for the country.

“When you play for India for the first time, and the journey he has taken, it’s important to give such a bowler and such a talent time. Whether it was a good day or a bad day is irrelevant. For him, just to play for India is itself a very big thing, and that is something which I’m very happy for, irrespective of how the result went, good or bad, it’s okay,” Pandya said.

“It’s part and parcel of the game, but at the same point of time, from here he’ll only get better, the more matches he plays, and it’s a big thing for him to play for India, for anyone to play for India. I want to let him enjoy this moment because it doesn’t come every time. A debut happens only once,” he added.

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