RANCHI: Going into the T20I series opener against New Zealand, the most talked about topic as far as the India camp is concerned was if Prithvi Shaw will get a look-in over Shubman Gill, given the young Mumbai batter’s recent good form.
However, in the pre-match press conference, India skipper Hardik Pandya made it clear that Shubman Gill will be opening on Friday. “Shaw will have to wait for his opportunity as Shubman Gill has done very well and was already part of the T20 team. Shubman will start because of the way he is batting,” Pandya said on Thursday.
About his bowling with the new ball in the last ODI, the captain said, “I always enjoy bowling with new ball. Now, whenever I pick a ball in the nets it’s always a new ball. What happened in the last game was that we had to rest our two main fast bowlers so I had to bowl with a new ball. It has never been a pressure. Half of the time the pressure is not there if you prepare well.”
Pandya was non-committal about wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma‘s chances. “Our strategy will be seen on the ground. Jitesh has been rewarded for his (IPL) performances. Unfortunately, Sanju Samson got injured and Jitesh got the opportunity,” stated Pandya.
Santer looks to grab opportunity
New Zealand skipper Mitchell Santner, meanwhile, said the series will be a fresh opportunity for the players to leave the ODI loss behind and come good for the future. “It’s always an opportunity for any player to play for his country no matter what is the format. So players will try to come up with good performances to make their place stronger in the team in future. It’s always an experience to play India in India, so there’s no dearth of motivation,” Santner said.
Dhoni visits India dressing room
Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid a visit to the Indian dressing room on Thursday afternoon to interact with the players ahead of the first T20. Dhoni, the most decorated India skipper ever, first interacted with T20 captain Hardik Pandya and then went on to share some tips with young wicketkeeper-batter from the state, Ishan Kishan.