Hardik Pandya lavished praise on Suryakumar Yadav and reflected on leading a young team as India completed a 2-1 victory in the T20 International series against reigning Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Suryakumar was at his best again as he smashed an unbeaten 112 off 51 – his third T20I century – as India won the third and final game of the series against Sri Lanka by 91 runs in Rajkot.
Skipper Pandya, in the post-match press conference, said that the manner in which Suryakumar goes about his business helps the other batters in the team as well.
“Today, it felt like Sri Lanka against Surya. It makes my life very easy. I always mention that someone like Surya is so important for us in white-ball cricket,” said Pandya.
“The way he plays some shots, the way he changes the game, it actually breaks the morale of the bowler which kind of helps the other batters as well.
“You don’t tell him anything. Surya, the kind of form he’s playing and the clarity he has, you don’t really need to speak to him. He is always very clear about his plans and that’s the reason he’s successful in this format. He doesn’t doubt his ability. Wherever he’s in double mind, he always comes and haves a chat. I don’t think anyone has to say anything to him.”
Pandya led the team in the absence of senior players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
The 29-year-old all-rounder reflected on his captaincy philosophy and said he doesn’t find the job too difficult.
“It’s actually not that difficult. My life becomes very easy, when the experienced players are there, I don’t say much to them because they are here because they have done a lot of good things in their lives,” said Pandya.
He added: “Managing is not difficult, but yes it’s a young group. They will make mistakes, they will learn from it, something that we have emphasised that once you make a mistake you make sure that you learn from it. Acceptance is very important in this sport. If you don’t expect it, things go very far.
“But when a young team is there, the only thing I can help them is about giving them confidence, how to make sure they are at a level, when they are playing here, they feel that they belong here. That is very important in international cricket. In this group, it’s a very good journey. Youngsters are willing to learn and it makes my journey very easy.”
Pandya also spoke about the Indian team’s approach with the bat, which has been a cause for concern in the shortest format over the past few years. He said that, as always, intent is the key.
“It’s not always that we will play aggressive in terms of hitting. There might be a case where we do the same thing but we end up scoring 150,” said Pandya.
“But what is important is the intent, you look for a boundary but when a good ball is there you respect that ball. But if you have a defensive mindset, even if a bad ball is there, you are not able to put that away.
“The wicket was suitable for the batters once it got old. But it’s more about the intent and signs of aggression that we showed that was important on a tricky wicket. It just makes a difference of 10 runs which can be decisive overall.”
Quotes courtesy PTI. Watch Hardik Pandya’s press conference here.