Tarouba (Trinidad): India's stand-in captain Hardik Pandya attributed his impressive performance in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) against the West Indies to the valuable batting inputs he received from former skipper Virat Kohli.
After being dismissed for five and seven in the first two ODIs against the West Indies, Pandya made a remarkable comeback in the decider, unleashing his true potential with an unbeaten 70 off 52 balls, including four fours and five sixes to lift India to 351/5. The bowlers then did their job, as India bundled out the hosts for 151 in 35.3 overs to seal the series 2-1.
"I had a very wonderful chat with Virat a couple of days back, and the kind of input he gave me, he has seen me throughout the years. It's been almost seven or eight years of international cricket and he has seen me from day one. He had some pointers which really helped me," Pandya said at the post-match presentation.
When asked what suggestion the seasoned batter gave him, Pandya said: "He (Virat) just wanted me to spend some time on the crease and get used to the 50 over game as well because we have played so many T20 formats and yeah, that kind of stayed in my mind and I was just waiting for the opportunity. I'm really thankful to him as well to kind of share that experience with me,"
Pandya further supported the team management's decision to rest Rohit Sharma and Kohli for two consecutive matches, emphasizing the significance of providing younger players with valuable opportunities and exposure.
"Virat and Rohit are a very integral part of the team. And, you know, obviously, this was very important for someone like Rutu (Gaikwad) to get a game or Axar (Patel) to get a game. So kind of giving them the exposure and kind of making sure that if we want to check something, we have the opportunity to do it,” he said.
India will now take on the West Indies in five T20Is, starting Thursday.