Hardik Pandya said his aim is to lead the Indian team in his own way, whenever he gets the opportunity to do so, after the men in blue won the three-match T20 International series against New Zealand 1-0.

The third T20I in Napier on Tuesday ended in a tie after rain took over with India having a par score in their chase. With the first match being washed-out, India bagged the series win having clinched the second T20I.

New Zealand vs India: Hardik Pandya and Co clinch series as rain-hit third T20I ends in tie

It provided some cheer for the Indian team after their disappointing semifinal exit from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League title this year in what was the debut season for the franchise, said it feels good when he is looked at as a contender for the full-time job as India’s T20 captain. The series against New Zealand was Pandya’s second T20I series as captain after leading the side against Ireland in June.

“If people are saying (I could be captain), you feel good about it but till something happens (official announcement), you can’t say,” Pandya said after the rain-hit third T20.

“To be honest, my thing is simple, if I do one match or one series, I will lead the team my way, how I see and perceive the game. Whenever I am given the opportunity, I will always go out and play the brand of cricket I know. As a unit, we will display my brand. As far as whatever (captaincy) comes in future, we will see.”

One of the big talking points throughout the T20I series against New Zealand was the absence of Sanju Samson and Umran Malik from India’s playing XI. Both players have shown in recent times that they can be explosive in the shortest format, but they are continuing to be ignored.

“Had it been a bigger series and not three games, we could have played them,” said Pandya. “But I don’t believe in chop and change in a short series and going forward also that will be my philosophy.

“It’s not difficult to handle the situation where players feel security. I share a cordial rapport with all players and the players I am unable to pick, there is nothing personal and even they know it. It is because of the combination that I am not able to play them.”

Pandya went on to elaborate on why Samson missed out: “I am a people’s man and if anyone feels otherwise, my doors are always open to come and have chat with me. I understand their feelings. Sanju Samson is an unfortunate case. We had to play him but for some strategic reason, we couldn’t play him.

“I can understand that if I stand in his shoes that even if you are continuously benched for India. It is difficult, as much as I speak to them, it’s no consolation for not playing, but at the same time, if I can repeat the point and keep healthy atmosphere, it’s fine. If players are feeling bad, they can come and speak to me or the coach. Going forward, if I remain the captain, I don’t think that will be an issue. My behaviour and nature ensures that we are a close-knit unit.”

Quotes courtesy PTI