From his on-field attitude to his off-field gestures, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is getting more and more plaudits each day. Now, he has received praise from veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for expertly handling the questions about Sanju Samson’s exclusion from the T20I squad against New Zealand.
While applauding Pandya’s composure, Ashwin referred to former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who had a knack for maintaining his cool in any pressure situation.
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Pandya was appointed as the interim captain of the T20I side. While the opening fixture was abandoned due to rain, the third match was declared a tie as per the DLS method after rain once again interrupted the action. With their victory in the second game, the Men in Blue triumphed 1-0.
Questions about Sanju Samson being sidelined even after his good form began to arise during the series. In India’s previous series against South Africa, the Kerala batter recorded 118 runs in three matches, but Rishabh Pant was considered the first-choice wicketkeeper against the Black Caps.
When asked about the decision, Pandya answered, “He (Samson) definitely knows it is not personal. It has to do with the circumstances. Everyone is aware that I always have my doors open for anyone to talk with me if they are feeling something. This is because I can also relate.”
Referring to Pandya’s response, Ashwin noted that the all-rounder might have adopted the style of “Thala Dhoni.” According to him, this can be the byproduct of the close bonding the duo share with each other.
During Dhoni’s tenure, Pandya was spotted several times taking valuable advice from the former captain. Those suggestions seem to have clicked for him and the results reflect it, whether it’s in the IPL or in the international circuit. “Kudos to Hardik,” Ashwin said while speaking on his YouTube channel.
Additionally, Ashwin lauded Pandya for trying to ensure that India didn’t fall short of the required total with his bat in the third T20I, which concluded in a tie under the DLS technique. The senior player noted that Pandya’s quick-fire 30 runs in 18 balls immensely helped India reach the par score of 75 runs.
“Pandya’s performance with the bat was similar to what he did for the Gujarat Titans. He came out all guns blazing and it was the only factor that led the match resulting in a tie,” Ashwin explained.
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