“This Is My Team, Doesn’t Matter What…”: Hardik Pandya Replied To A Query On Sanju Samson.

    India won the three-match T20I series 1-0 against New Zealand on Tuesday. Rain in the first and last match ended the Black Caps’ hopes of leveling or winning the series. However, the choice to leave Sanju Samson out of the Playing XI for the entire series sparked a lot of questions. India just made one change in the two games played in Mount Maunganui and Napier, substituting Harshal Patel for Washington Sundar in the last game at McLean Park.

    After the Indian team’s modest performance in the T20 World Cup, the perception among people was that India would inject an impactful fast bowler into the T20I set-up and play more free-flowing batsmen, but their decision to bench Samson and Malik painted a different picture. Stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya revealed the reason behind the non-selection of his fellow teammate.

    Umran and Sanju (Image Source: GETTY IMAGES)

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    Hardik Pandya on Sanju Samson and Umran Malik

    Hardik Pandya, stand-in captain of India, said he isn’t bothered by complaints that Sanju Samson and Umran Malik weren’t included in the playing XI for the T20I series against New Zealand. He added that he doesn’t think playing elevens should be changed in short series.

    Hardik, in the press conference after the third T20I in Napier, which ended in a tie via the DLS method, said “What people are saying from outside, it doesn’t matter much at this level. This is my team, firstly. The coach and I will pick the team we feel is right. There is a lot of time, everyone will get a chance, and when one gets a chance, he will get a long run. If it was a longer series, if there were more matches, obviously opportunities would have been given. But when it is a short series, I don’t believe in chop and change, and in the future also, I wouldn’t believe.” (Pahli baat to bahar kaun kya bol raha hai usse ye level pe farak nahi padta. Ye meri team hai, coach aur mujhe jo theek lagega, jo side hume chahiye hoga hum wo khilayenge. Bohut samay hai, sabko mauka milega aur jab mauka milega lamba milega. Agar bada series hota, zyada matches hote toh obviously opportunities zyada hote. Ye chhota series tha, main zyada chop and change mein believe nahi karta aur age bhi believe nei karunga.)

    Hardik on Sanju Samson
    Sanju Samson (BCCI)

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    The 29-year-old Hardik, however, accepted that it’s tough for a player to warm the benches on a regular basis. “If they are sitting out, Sanju Samson, for example, we wanted to play him, but for whatever reason, we couldn’t. But I can get into their shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a cricketer, it is difficult, whatever one might say. You are on the Indian team, but you are not getting a chance in the XI, so that’s difficult. But if I can create a healthy environment, where the players can come and speak to me if they are feeling bad, or go and speak to the coach, if I remain the captain, I think it won’t be a problem. Because my nature is such that I make sure everyone is together,” Hardik concluded.

    Hardik will now return home as Shikhar Dhawan will lead the team in the three-match ODI series starting on Friday.

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