Hardik Pandya has captained India in three T20I series – Ireland, New Zealand and Sri Lanka – and all the three times has emerged victorious. But the 29-year-old would call this series win more special, considering how India were constantly put under the mat by an inspired Sri Lankan team over two-intense T20 clashes.
The third one, however, was pretty one-sided thanks to Suryakumar Yadav. The Indian skipper Hardik made it clear as daylight that he will be disheartened as a bowler if he had to bowl to Suryakumar. Not just that, Hardik also credited the 32-year-old for playing such stunning innings, with the Mumbaikar scoring his third T20I century.
“He (Suryakumar) has been surprising everyone and making everyone know that batting is very easy. If I am a bowler, I will be disheartened with the shot he plays. He has played blinders after blinders,” said Hardik at the post-match presentation.
However, in the same breath, the all-rounder was quick to credit Rahul Tripathi, who Hardik reckoned played a similar knock with the ball moving early on in the innings.
“Special mention to Rahul Tripathi as well, who played so well with the ball moving,” Hardik pointed out.
Hardik also showered his praises on Axar Patel with the all-rounder stating that the Delhi Capitals’ man adds a lot of value to this Indian white-ball setup.
“Don't need to tell much to Sky, whenever he finds a situation when he is not sure, we try to find a solution. More often than not he has been doing it all on his own. Very proud of Axar. This series will give him a lot of confidence. It adds a lot of value to the team as well. “
The 29-year-old made a recall, stating that his motto as a captain would always be to ‘back his players’ and insisted that it was heartening to see the team pull their way back despite being dumped down in the second T20I.
“My motto is to back my players. These are the best India cricketers in the T20 format, and there is not place in international cricket of doubting. The way we played, I was very happy. The way we competed, it was heartening to see. On our day, we will pull it back and keep winning.
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka admitted that he was pleased with his own performance in the series, and also insisted that his team are growing in leap and bound every series. While there were puzzling reactions to why the all-rounder didn't have a bowl in the third T20I, an barring the one over in the second T20I, not a whole lot of overs in the series. Shanaka put it down to his recovery from injury.
"Before coming here, I was not in top form, but I am very happy with my own performance. The way boys played the tournament, there were a lot of positives. The players have improved a lot. Good to see them playing well. [Not bowling enough] Coming into the series, I had an injury, so I did not bowl enough. Hopefully, will bowl more in the ODIs. [Batting] I want to keep the boys relaxed on the field, but while batting it is a different game. He congratulates Suryakumar for his innings as well," Shanaka said in the post-match presentation.