All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who will be captaining India in the upcoming three-match T20I series against New Zealand, is extremely excited to see what the new bunch of players can do in the short series which follows just a week after their semifinal exit from the Men’s T20 World Cup.
In the series against New Zealand starting at the Sky Stadium in Wellington from November 18, India will be without main players like regular captain Rohit Sharma, opener KL Rahul, talismanic batter Virat Kohli, veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik and ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
In their absence, opener Shubman Gill, middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, tearaway pacer Umran Malik, off-spinner Washington Sundar, left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, pacer Mohammed Siraj, wicketkeeper-batters Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson have been given a chance to be in T20I set-up.
“The main boys are not here. But at the same point of time, the players who are already here have been playing for India for about one and a half or two years now. Even they have had ample chances and spent enough time in international cricket to express themselves and showcase what they have.
“We are very excited for them. New bunch, new guys, with a lot of new excitement and new energy. It’s going to be quite exciting to watch them play,” said Hardik in a pre-series press conference.
Hardik also felt that the upcoming T20I series will be an important one for the newcomers to be consistent picks in larger scheme of things. “Every series is important. You can’t play an international game thinking its not important. Yes World Cup is there but that’s a different format, it’s 50 overs. But it is an important series for a lot of boys who if they eventually do well here will be able to put a strong case going forward.”
Hardik was also in praise of the Kane Williamson-led side, who just like India crashed out of the T20 World Cup in the semi-finals stage. “Martin (Guptill) did not play in the (T20) World Cup as well, still they were there in the semis. We all know that New Zealand have been a fantastic side over the years, who have always come and put up a show and always challenge you as a team.”