Deepak Hooda scored a blistering 104 in the second Twenty20 International against Ireland in Malahide, Dublin, to help India win the match by 4 runs and clinch the series 2-0. Coming in to bat at three, Hooda hit nine fours and six sixes during his 57-ball masterpiece, before Josh Little dismissed him.

India vs Ireland, 2nd T20I: Deepak Hooda scores ton as Hardik Pandya & Co win high-scoring thriller

After the early dismissal for Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, playing his first match in the series and opening the innings, combined with Hooda to stitch a record 176-run partnership for the second wicket to propel India to an imposing 225-7 in their 20 overs after winning the toss.

“I’ve never opened in an international game, but being a top-order batsman, you have to cope up to the challenges and you don’t have any option,” said Hooda, in the post-match press conference.

“And if you don’t have any option, then why don’t you go there like a warrior. That’s how I think, and things turned in my way. I’m happy about that.”

Hooda, who also played in the recent T20I series against Sri Lanka at home, is aware of the competition within the squad ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. However, the selection for that squad was not what was playing on his mind during the second T20I, when he became only the fourth Indian man and fifth batter overall to score a century in the shortest format at the international level.

Hooda on fire: Reactions to Indian batter’s blistering century against Ireland in second T20I

“To be honest, yes it is difficult to find a spot in the Indian team and then staying there. But at the same time when you’re playing in India colours, that time you never think about yourself, you think about the team,” said Hooda.

“That’s what I think about on the ground - ‘how can I contribute to the team in that situation.’ I don’t think more than that, try to keep things simple. Yes, it’s a matter of pride for me that I’m playing for India, no matter if I’m scoring or not.”

The right-handed batsman who not only bagged the player of the match award but also the player of the series award. He also had a season to remember in the Indian Premier League 2022, having scored 451 runs in 15 matches at an average of 32.21, and also spoke about a mindset change that has helped him perform well recently.

“Being a cricketer, what I’ve learnt lately is that you should not think too far ahead. How many ever series, look at it one game at a time. If my work ethic is good, I’m going to be in a good space of mind and I’m going to score, that’s my thinking,” he added.

“Try to keep it simple, live in the present, play the situation well, and then automatically the outcome will come. Now or later, it will come.”