Prepared for Checks? Pandya is keen

New Delhi, December 7

Allrounder Hardik Pandya has been one of the stars for India in the limited-overs matches on the tour of Australia, having contributed 210 runs in the ODI series and 58 in the T20I series. He was the Man of the Match in two of India’s three wins, in one ODI and one T20I.

But Pandya is not part of India’s Test squad for the four-match series. After his heroics in the limited-overs series, he himself is not averse to the idea of staying back in Australia for the Tests as well, if the team management so desires.

Pandya underwent a lower back surgery over a year ago, and he is still not fit enough to bowl regularly. But his calmness under pressure while batting has won him new admirers.

Asked if he wants to stay back for the Test series, which starts on December 17, Pandya said, “It’s a different ball game… I think I need to be, I mean I don’t mind but at the end of the day, the call is on the management. So, yeah, I don’t think I can say much about it.”

On Sunday, Pandya took India to a six-wicket win with a blazing 42 off 22 balls in the second T20I as the team scored 25 in the last two overs. His huge sixers in the final over were reminiscent of MS Dhoni’s style, and Pandya said he’s working on finishing matches.

“During lockdown I wanted to focus on finishing games where it matters the most. It doesn’t matter whether I score or don’t score more runs,” Pandya said.

“I have been in these situations many times and I learnt from my mistakes in the past. My game is always around the confidence which I carry, it has that fine line where I back myself and not become overconfident,” he added.

Backing himself

Pandya hit debutant pacer Daniel Sams for two sixes — one over long on and one over midwicket — to seal the game in India’s favour with two balls to spare. “It was not about what they are doing, it was about what I can do. It’s a matter of two big shots and today it came off. I always back myself. It’s the situation I have always played,” Pandya said. “Whatever the team requires I always try to do. It’s very simple. I like to look at scoreboard and play so that I know which bowlers to target.”

Speaking about the difference between playing in the IPL and for India, he said, “In franchise cricket, you have to step up because it’s a professional sport, and here its about the love for your country and you feel more pressure here.” — TNS

Eyeing clean sweep

Sydney: The series pocketed and their confidence restored, India would eye nothing less than a clean sweep when they take on an Australian side significantly weakened by injury blows in the third and final T20 International here on Tuesday. After defeats in the first two ODIs, the Indians have turned a corner. Left-arm pacer Thangarasu Natarajan has had a superb initiation in international cricket with Australian batsmen still finding it difficult to read him. A big difference between India and Australia during the last game was the batting during the middle overs. Australia lost a bit of momentum after stand-in skipper Matthew Wade was dismissed while Virat Kohli played some outrageous shots after the Powerplay to up the ante. PTI

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