Even while the World Cup was on, Hardik Pandya was appointed captain of the T20 side to New Zealand that does not include skipper Rohit Sharma for the three-match T20 series starting November 18
Kane Williamson and Hardik Pandya
With India bowing out of the T20 World Cup after a devastating 10-wicket loss to eventual champions England in the semi-finals, there is much talk of a revamp to avoid another disappointing show.
Even while the World Cup was on, Hardik Pandya was appointed captain of the T20 side to New Zealand that does not include skipper Rohit Sharma for the three-match T20 series starting November 18.
Pandya’s capabilities were appreciated by New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. “Obviously, Hardik is a superstar of the game. He is one of the most sought-after match-winners. He’s bowling really well and the way he hits the ball, makes him a special cricketer. As far as his leadership skills go, I haven’t played with him so I don’t know, but he has had success in the IPL. India have got a number of experienced players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma under whose guidance Hardik can grow even further,” Williamson said at a media interaction organised by Amazon Prime Video, who will broadcast the series in India.
With several senior players resting, India will look to try out quite a few youngsters between now and the 2024 T20 World Cup to be held in the USA and West Indies. Meanwhile, Williamson heaped praise on pace sensation Umran Mallik, his teammate at Sunrisers Hyderabad for the last IPL. “Umran is a super exciting talent. Him being on the international scene now is an amazing rise for him. When you’ve got that ability to bowl at 150 kmph, it’s very exciting. Clearly, there are high hopes that he’ll have an involvement with Indian cricket for a long time,” he said.
Of his own squad, Williamson pinned hopes on opener Finn Allen, whose 16-ball 42 against Australia in the World Cup opener [Super-12] took everyone by surprise. “Finn’s a very exciting talent. It’s great to see him in the side and expressing himself. Getting more cricket under his belt is only going to be helpful to nurture [him] and continue his upward trend as a player,” added the Kiwi skipper.
Williamson, 32, who has battled an elbow injury for close to two years now—a problem that might have led to his recent inconsistent form—refuted claims of him not being a part of all formats. “The elbow is improving. It took quite a long time. I certainly love playing all formats and the challenges that brings. At the same time, with such a high volume of cricket, there’s a balance to strike,” he said.