India captain Hardik Pandya confirmed that the in-form Shubman Gill will open the batting instead of Prithvi Shaw, who has returned to the Indian set-up, in the first T20 International against New Zealand in Ranchi on Friday.

Gill, who had an incredible run in the fifty-over format against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, scored 70, 21, 116, 208, 40*, and 112 over six innings. He had earlier won the player of the series award against Zimbabwe and West Indies and added another one to his cabinet after the series against New Zealand with 360 runs in three matches at an average of 180.

Giving him company at the top of the order will be Ishan Kishan, who also opened the batting against Sri Lanka. Talking about the team selection, Pandya, in the press conference on the eve of the first T20I, said, “Shubman has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting and was already in the team.”

Often seen bowling with the new ball for India in white-ball cricket, Pandya stated that he enjoys the role and has, in fact, been improving on the skill.

“I have always enjoyed bowling with the new ball. Since quite a number of years whenever I bowl in the nets, I pick the new ball. I am used to the old ball so that I don’t feel the need to practice with the old ball as much. It has helped in match situations.

“With our two main bowlers rested in the last game, I had to be ready. But (it) has never been about pressure, half of the times pressure is gone if you prepare well,” said Hardik.

India won the ODI series 3-0 and became the top-ranked side after the win. After the first T20I in Ranchi, the action will move to Lucknow and Ahmedabad for the remaining matches in the series.

Watch the entire press conference here.

Quotes courtesy: PTI