ENG vs IND: Filling 'big shoes' of Jasprit Bumrah gives confidence, says Hardik Pandya
- India defeated England by 5 wickets in the third ODI
- Team India sealed the series 2-1
- Hardik recorded his best ODI bowling figures
Hardik Pandya expressed delight about filling the "big shoes" of Jasprit Bumrah during the third ODI between India and England at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Bumrah did not feature in the decisive third ODI in Manchester due to a back spasm, which saw Hardik bowl a few overs more than usual. Not only did he step up with that but also delivered in vital situations as he finished the game with his best ODI bowling figures – 4 for 24.
Hardik, who produced a fine all-round show that helped India win the game by five wickets, picked up wickets of all four dangerous hitters in the English side. The all-rounder adapted to various conditions at Old Trafford and dismissed Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Liam Livingstone in his spell of seven overs.
The victory in the third ODI meant India sealed the series 2-1. Earlier, Rohit Sharma and Co had also won the T20I series 2-1.
"I knew that Jasprit was not going to play this game. Obviously, yes, when someone like him (is injured)... he was telling me, 'you may have to bowl a couple of overs in the death as well' (and) I said, 'very big shoes to fill'. I had to step up, not at the death, but in making sure that in the middle overs I got the breakthroughs. Whenever things happen to me, the way I planned, it gives confidence," said Hardik at the press conference.
On the track that offered some bounce, Hardik stuck to bowling short, which in turn became a wicket-taking option for the bowler. The testimony to the same was how Hardik continued to use the short ball to lure Livingstone and eventually won the battle as the Englishman was caught by a fielder in the deep.
"I had to bend my back a bit. I had to change my plans, realised that this was not the wicket to go full, and go for the short ball, use it as a wicket-taking delivery. I fancy my bouncers. In ODIs, you have to take on the short ball and that gives you a chance to take wickets.
Livingstone likes to take on the short ball and that gives me goosebumps, he hit me for two sixes but I told my captain, 'even if I go for four sixes here but I take a wicket it will make a difference,'" added Hardik.
People's heartbeat goes up watching Rishabh Pant bat: Hardik Pandya
Thanks to Hardik's spell, India bowled out England at 259 in 45.5 overs. Team India's chase went off the track as they lost early wickets. The tourist party were four-down only for 72 in 16.2 overs. That's when Hardik walked in to join Rishabh Pant in the middle. The two put up a match-winning stand of 133 runs for the fifth wicket. Apart from going for a boundary against loose deliveries, Hardik supported his aggressive approach with quick singles and doubles to keep India's innings going.
Hardik scored a crucial 71 off 55 balls before falling to Brydon Carse, while Pant remained unbeaten on 125 off 113 balls – his maiden ODI century.
"It is always very good to contribute in all the departments, I think that has given me a lot of confidence in the past, it adds more layers to my game and to my confidence. And Rishabh... his innings was very important for us, the partnership as well and obviously the way he finished, we all know what kind of talent he has, it is just when it comes out, it is very easy to the eye, and also gives a lot of people... you know their heartbeat also goes up. But at the same time, it gives the eyeballs as well... all the kinds of shots he plays," Hardik added further.
The 28-year-old Hardik also emphasised the fact that a series victory over a formidable opponent like England at their home turf means a lot to the Men in Blue.
"The past is past, the Manchester semi-final has passed. You can't change anything and in cricket, there is no revenge, it does not matter, to be honest. For us, it was important how we go forward from here. England have been fantastic throughout the last couple of years, everyone found England one of the best teams in the world. To come here and perform and win is more important," explained Hardik.
India will now travel to the Caribbean for a limited-overs series against West Indies, including three ODIs and five T20Is.