Ahead of the series opener, Indian skipper Hardik Pandya came out with a very important message, stating that he will back this group of players till the hilt. On Tuesday (January 3), the Indian all-rounder walked the talk backing the 24-year-old debutant Shivam Mavi to the fullest.
And, it reflected well in Mavi’s performance on the night, where he emerged as one of India’s big talking points. Mavi’s plans were clear, swing the ball both ways and get the batter to take the risk. It was evident in his first spell, where he saw the back of both Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva.
“I have seen him [Shivam Mavi] bowling well in the IPL and I just told him to simply bowl. I told him, 'I am backing you. Even if you get hit, it's fine’, said Hardik at the post-match presentation.
Hardik also put down any fear of injuries, stating that it was just a matter of cramps.
“It was just cramps, I am alright. it was a rough night, I was unwell and I had my fluids down. If I am smiling, everything is fine,” he added.
The all-rounder did give the world a peak into his new variation, the ball that swings back into the right-hander. Hardik also assured that there are chances of seeing him with the new ball in the future if India are to field such a balance.
“If the same situation is there, I will take the new ball. I have been bowling in the nets with the new ball since I returned in the IPL. I have learnt how to swing it back,” Hardik reckoned.
But a lot of India’s success on the night would go to the all-rounder Deepak Hooda, who batting out of position made a stellar statement, with a 23-ball 41, an innings where he cleared the ropes four times.
“I try to practise for every position and try to give my best at every position. We knew if get the momentum on our side, we will reach 160. I recently played domestic cricket, so I am aware of the game situation even though I don't practise range hitting,” said Hooda, when asked about his batting position.
Dasun Shanaka, on the other hand was very vocal about Sri Lanka’s missed opportunity. The all-rounder, who made a valiant attempt during the run-chase, with a 27-ball 45, put it clear as daylight that Sri Lanka needed to close this game out.
“Really disappointed with the way we finished, it was a game we should have won. At Wankhede, the batters need to cross the line easily when you are chasing 163,” Shanaka reflected on the tough loss.