“He Can Hit Me. I Know He’s Going To Hear This”: Hardik Pandya Dares West Indies Star

Having seen his captaincy come in the line of fire, Hardik Pandya got the team to click in the third T20I against West Indies, helping the tourists pull one back after losing the first two matches to the hosts. India’s batting unit has courted the most criticism, especially for its long tail. But, Hardik, on Tuesday, made it clear that his team will continue to play with seven batters as he doesn’t want to compromise on the bowling front. As far as Team India’s strategy for the 3rd T20I is concerned, Hardik was spot on, especially with regards to the handling of an in-form Nicholas Pooran.

“Very important (to win). We spoke as a group that these three games will be exciting. Two losses or two wins does not change the long term plans. We have to show we are ready when it comes to such (must-win) games.

“Nicky (Pooran) didn’t come out to bat and that allowed us to keep our pacers back, also allowed Axar to bowl his four overs. If Nicky wants to hit, let him hit me and that was the plan, I enjoy such competition. I know he is going to hear this and will come hard at me in the fourth T20I,” said the India skipper at the post-match presentation ceremony.

India’s long tail was questioned after the loss in the first two games of the five-match series against West Indies.

Speaking after India’s seven-wicket win in the third T20, Hardik said seven batting options are enough in the playing eleven.

“As a group we have decided to bat with seven batters and we have to take responsibility, like it happened today if the batters score runs then you don’t need someone at number eight,” said the skipper.

Hardik also heaped praise on his deputy Suryakumar Yadav for his match-winning 83 off 44 balls.

“As Surya mentioned, they (SKY and Tilak Varma) play together and spend time together, good to have someone like SKY in the team and when he takes responsibility it sends a message to the others,” said Hardik.

Tilak Varma, playing his debut series, remained unbeaten on 49 off 37 balls as India chased down 160 with 13 balls to spare.

With PTI inputs

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