Hardik Pandya reacts to criticism of leaving Sanju Samson out: 'This is my team'

Hardik Pandya reacts to criticism of leaving Sanju Samson out
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Hardik Pandya reacts to criticism of leaving Sanju Samson out

Highlights

  • India defeated New Zealand 1-0 in T20I series
  • The third game ended in a tie by D/L method
  • The three-match ODI series will go underway on Friday

Hardik Pandya has backed his decision of not giving Sanju Samson a chance in the T20I series against New Zealand, saying he doesn't believe in changing playing XIs in the short series.

India made just one change in the three-match T20I series in New Zealand, where they replaced Washington Sundar with Harshal Patel in the last game at McLean Park. After the first game got washed out by rain, India won the second T20I by 65 runs. The third and final game ended in a tie by D/L method, meaning Hardik and Co sealed the series 1-0.

"What people are saying from outside, it doesn't matter much at this level. This is my team, firstly. The coach and I will pick the team we feel is right. There is a lot of time, everyone will get a chance, when one gets a chance, he will get a long run," Hardik was quoted as saying in the post-match press conference on Tuesday.

"If it was a longer series, if there were more matches, obviously opportunities would have been given. But when it is a short series, I don't believe in chop and change and in the future also, I wouldn't believe," India's stand-in skipper added.

Hardik, however, accepted that it's tough for a player to warm the benches on a regular basis.

"If they are sitting out... Sanju Samson, for example: we wanted to play him, but for whatever reason, we couldn't. But I can get into their shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a cricketer, it is difficult, whatever one might say.

"You are in the Indian team, but you are not getting a chance in the XI, so that's difficult. But if I can create a healthy environment, where the players can come and speak to me if they are feeling bad, or go and speak to the coach, if I remain the captain, I think it won't be a problem. Because my nature is such that I make sure everyone is together," the 29-year-old added.

In five T20I innings in 2022, Samson has scored 179 runs at an average of 44.75 and a strike-rate of 158.40, including a half-century and a top score of 77, which he scored against Ireland back in June at The Village in Dublin.

Samson was also not picked in India's T20 World Cup squad recently. Rohit Sharma and Co crashed out after losing to England by 10 wickets in the semi-final.

The Kerala cricketer is also in India's One-Day International (ODI) for their three-match series in New Zealand. It remains to be seen if the right-hander gets a game in the upcoming series or not. The first ODI between India and New Zealand is scheduled to take place on Friday (Nov. 25) at Auckland's Eden Park.

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