Hardik Pandya’s all-round excellence leads to India’s victory

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Like all Indians I was disappointed, nay devastated, by India losing an unlosable Test at Birmingham on Tuesday.

Imagine India amassing 416 runs in the first innings with dynamic centuries by Rishabh Pant (146) and Ravindra Jadeja (104) adding 222 runs for the sixth wicket. As a climax, tail-end batsman Jasprit Bumrah smashed 31 runs in an over from Stuart Broad, a world record.

And still India lost by 7 wickets. Why? How?? How come???

But my depression was lifted by India winning the first Twenty20 International (T20I) at Southampton yesterday.

Winning the toss India scored 8 for 198 in 20 overs. Hardik Pandya hit 51 runs with 6 fours and a six. He received good support from SuryakumarYadav scoring 39 with 4 fours and 2 sixes.

With Pandya shining with the ball as well England was bowled out for 148 in 19.3 overs and India won by 50 runs. For scoring 51 runs (the top score of the match) and claiming 4 for 33, he was adjudged Player of the Match.

Hardik said at the presentation, “Last time when I played in England, I took a four-for and scored 30-odd runs. Enjoying my cricket right now. I want success but a lot of time I spend on fitness and my skillsets. Because of the long break that I had, I wanted to get into rhythm (bowling quickly). That was a conscious decision when I decided I want some time off from the game. When I know I can’t give my 100 percent, there’s no point for Hardik Pandya to play. I’m happy. I’ve always been a kind of individual who has liked responsibility and enhance my game. Captaincy adds some responsibility but for me, I have always been a responsible player – like this.”

Skipper Rohit Sharma was equally thrilled by India’s easy win.

India plays England today in the second T20I at Birmingham and in the third T20I at Nottingham tomorrow.

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