Hardik Pandya, who will lead India in the upcoming three-match T20 International series against New Zealand, said the road for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup starts now for the men in blue.

Rohit Sharma-led India were knocked-out in the semifinals of this year’s T20 World Cup by eventual champions England. After topping their group, a 10-wicket loss against Jos Buttler’s team in the semis raised a number of questions regarding intent, strategy, team selection and more.

Speaking to the media on the eve of the first T20I against New Zealand in Wellington, Pandya said the Indian team is focussed on what’s ahead and will try to keep improving.

“Yes, we all know there is disappointment of the World Cup but we are professionals and we need to cope with it. How we cope with our success we cope up with our failures and move forward and look forward to get better rectify our mistakes,” said Pandya.

The 29-year-old all-rounder also suggested the team will look to give plenty of chances to youngsters over the next two years.

“Yes, the next T20 World Cup is almost two years so we have time (to unearth new talent). A lot of cricket will be played and a lot of people will get enough chances. The road map starts from now. But it’s too fresh right now. We have a lot of time so we will sit down and have conversations on those grounds. Right now it’s making sure that the boys enjoy playing here. We will talk about the future later,” he said.

India’s tour of New Zealand this time only includes white-ball cricket, with the three T20Is to be followed by as many One-Day Internationals. Senior players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin and KL Rahul have been rested for the tour.

India’s head coach Rahul Dravid is also taking a break with VVS Laxman, head of their National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, in charge.

There are several youngsters in the squad, including Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Umran Malik and Sanju Samson.

“The main boys are not here but at the same time, the guys who are here have plenty of talent. They have also been playing for one and-a-half to two years now,” said Pandya.

“They have had ample chances and enough time in international cricket to express themselves and show what they have. Very excited for them, new bunch of guys, new energy and excitement. Every series is important. You can’t play an international game thinking it’s not important.

“Yes, the World Cup is there (next year) but that’s a different format, it’s 50 overs. But it is an important series for a lot of boys. If they do well here, they will be able to put a strong case going forward.”

Pandya also played down former England captain Michael Vaughan’s criticism of the Indian team, saying they have nothing to prove on their New Zealand tour despite a disappointing World Cup campaign.

Vaughan accused the Indian team of regularly failing to convert their considerable talent into titles.

“India are the most under-performing white-ball team in history,” Vaughan wrote in his column for the Telegraph.

India last won the ODI World Cup as hosts back in 2011, but Pandya dismissed Vaughan’s comments.

“When you don’t do well, people will have their opinion, which we respect, but at (the) international level, we don’t have anything to prove to anyone,” said Pandya.

Schedule for India's tour of New Zealand 2022

Day  Date  Match  Venue 
Friday  18th November  1st T20I  Sky Stadium, Wellington 
Sunday  20th November  2nd T20I  Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui 
Tuesday  22nd November  3rd T20I  McLean Park, Napier 
Friday  25th November  1st ODI  Eden Park, Auckland 
Sunday  27th November  2nd ODI  Seddon Park, Hamilton 
Wednesday  30th November  3rd ODI  Hagley Oval, Christchurch

India’s squads:

T20I series: Hardik Pandya (C), Rishabh Pant (vc & wk), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson (wk), W Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik.

ODI series: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Rishabh Pant (vc & wk), Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson (wk), W Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Shahbaz Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Sen, Umran Malik.