Shikhar Dhawan lent his weight behind Rishabh Pant on Wednesday after India lost the rain-hit One-Day International series against New Zealand 0-1.

Leading the Indian team in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Dhawan termed Pant a “match-winner” and also said Sanju Samson will have to wait for his chances.

The third and final ODI between India and New Zealand produced no result, like the second ODI, because of rain. The hosts clinched the trophy having won the first ODI comfortably.

Third ODI: New Zealand clinch series against India 1-0 after another rain-hit match

One of the big talking points around the Indian team during the series was the form of Pant and the exclusion of Samson. There is a school of thought that Samson isn’t given enough chances consistently, as he played just the first match and was dropped for the next two. Former coach Ravi Shastri has mentioned that Samson deserves a long rope. Whereas Pant has had a better time in 50-over format than 20-over recently, his scores in his last nine innings across the two white-ball formats read: 10, 15, 11, 6, 6, 3, 9, 9 and 27.

“Pant scored a hundred in England. Overall you have to see the larger picture and who is your match winner. You analyse and your decisions are based on that,” Dhawan said at the post-match interaction after the third ODI.

“Of course, Sanju Samson has been doing really well in whatever opportunities he’s got. But sometimes you got to wait for your chances, because the other player has done well and we know based on his (Pant’s) skill that he’s a match-winner. So you need to back him when he’s not doing well.”

India had won the T20I series earlier 1-0, before New Zealand won the ODIs by the same margin. However, rain was a constant through the six matches with three games being washed out. One match was decided on Duckworth/Lewis method.

“It’s frustrating. We can’t control rain. But yes, we got opportunities, and got a chance to discuss our flaws, where we can improve. We discuss all that and analyse,” Dhawan said.

“The team bonding will be our biggest positive. The main team will now play in Bangladesh. But if one or two may get injured, this experience will come handy there. The young players from this series will get a chance.”

Dhawan concluded the press conference saying he was looking forward to playing in Bangladesh, in conditions closer to home, and wanted to make an impact.

Quotes courtesy PTI

Watch the press conference here.