Hardik Pandya on Ruturaj Gaikwad Not Playing In First T20I. Deepak Hooda opened the batting alongside Ishan Kishan in the first T20I of the two-match series against Ireland in place of Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Team India got off to a winning start in the two-match T20I series against Ireland. Defeating the hosts by seven wickets in the first T20I on Sunday. Chasing 109 in 12 overs, India cruised home with seven wickets in hand and 16 balls to spare thanks to an unbeaten 47 from Deepak Hooda. What surprised everyone was that Hooda, rather than the designated opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, came out to open alongside Ishan Kishan.
In a post-game virtual press conference, skipper Hardik explained why Ruturaj did not come out to play.
“Rutu (Ruturaj Gaikwad) had a calf ache. We had the option of taking a risk and sending him into the open, but I refused. The safety of the players is more important, and I believe we will be able to manage what happens during the game. After that, there wasn’t much to decide; whatever our batting-order numbers were, we all moved up one spot, and it wasn’t a problem. We didn’t want to take any chances with Rutu, so we double-checked everything “remarked Hardik at the press conference
Hardik Patel said of debutant Umran Malik: “When you play for India for the first time. Given his journey, it’s important to give such a bowler and talent time. It makes no difference whether it was a good or bad day. For him, just playing for India is a huge accomplishment, and that is something I’m very proud of. Regardless of the outcome, good or bad.”
“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.
Ireland’s Harry Tector was the bright spot with the bat for the hosts, scoring 64 runs off 33 balls to help Ireland reach 108 in 12 overs.
“He played some fantastic shots, and he’s obviously 22, so I’ve given him a bat as well, so hopefully he can score some more sixes and get an IPL contract, and I wish him luck. Just take good care of him and steer him in the right direction. It’s not always about cricket; sometimes it’s about understanding your entire lifestyle and what’s at stake. If you can do that, I’m sure he’ll be around – not just in the IPL, but in all leagues around the world.” said Hardik.