India vs Ireland, 1st T20I – ‘Player welfare is more important’: Hardik Pandya on Ruturaj Gaikwad fails to open
The Indian team managed by Hardik Pandya got off to a winning start in the two-game T20I series against Ireland as the team outscored the hosts by seven wickets in the first T20I on Sunday. Chasing 109 in 12 overs, India went home with seven wickets in hand and 16 balls to spare as Deepak Hooda played an unbeaten 47. However, what surprised everyone was the fact that it was Hooda who came out to open alongside Ishan Kishan rather than designated flyhalf Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Speaking in a virtual press conference after the game, skipper Hardik explained why Ruturaj didn’t come out to open.
“Rutu (Ruturaj Gaikwad) had a calf problem. We had the opportunity to take a risk and send him open, but I didn’t agree. A player’s well-being is more important , and I thought we’re going to be able to handle what happens in the game. It was pretty simple after that, there wasn’t really a decision to be made, regardless of our batting order numbers, we all moved up one place, and it wasn’t a We wanted to make sure we didn’t take any risks with Rutu,” Hardik said at the press conference.
Speaking about debutant Umran Malik, Hardik said: “When you play for India for the first time and the journey he’s been on, it’s important to give such a talented bowler time. whether it’s a good day or a bad day is irrelevant. For him, just playing for India is in itself a very big thing, and that’s something I’m very happy about regardless of the result, good or bad, it’s fine.
“It’s an integral part of the game, but at the same time, from here he will only get better the more games he plays, and it’s a big thing for him to play for India, for anyone to play for India. I want to let him enjoy this moment because it doesn’t come every time. A debut only comes once,” he added.
It was Irishman Harry Tector who was the shining point with bat for the hosts as he went 64 carries on just 33 balls, and it was he who helped Ireland to post 108 in 12 overs.
“He played some fantastic shots, and obviously he’s 22, I gave him a bat too, so maybe he can score some more sixes and maybe get an IPL contract, and I wish him good luck. Take good care of him, give him the right advice. It’s not always about cricket, it’s about understanding your whole lifestyle and what’s at stake. If you can handle that, I’m sure he’ll be there – not just at IPL, in every league in the world,” Hardik said.
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