Last Updated: January 26, 2023, 7:55 PM IST
Prithvi Shaw last played a T20I in July 2021. (AFP Photo)
India will take on New Zealand in the first T20I of a three-match series in Ranchi on Friday
Eyebrows were raised when Rohit Sharma during a media interaction said Shubman Gill will be opening the innings in ODI series against Shubman Gill. This was after Ishan Kishan, as an opener, had blasted a double-century in India’s last ODI.
Gill though put those talks to rest for good with a double-century and a century across the three innings and in the process winning the player-of-the-series award as well.
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With Prithvi Shaw being recalled for the New Zealand T20Is, the question around India’s opening combination was asked, this time to captain Hardik Pandya in light of how the duo of Gill and Ishan Kishan fared at the top during the Sri Lanka series.
However, Pandya has cleared the air putting faith in Gill.
“Shubman Gill has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting, he was already in the team,” Pandya said on Thursday.
When asked whether he prefers a left-right or right-right combination for an opening pair, the allrounder replied, “Doesn’t matter. We prefer whatever is available to us. Best player will get the game whether left-handed or right-handed.”
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Pandya has been bowling with the new ball, as he did during the Sri Lanka T20Is and also opened the attack for India against New Zealand in the 3rd ODI.
The 29-year-old said he enjoys bowling upfront.
“I have always enjoyed bowling with the new ball. Since quite a number of years whenever I bowl in the nets, I pick the new ball. I am used to the old ball so that I don’t feel the need to practice with the old ball as much. It has helped in match situations,” he said.
“With our two main bowlers rested in the last game, I had to be ready. But (it) has never been about pressure, half of the times pressure is gone if you prepare well,” he added.
After getting a maiden call-up for the Sri Lanka T20Is, wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma also found a place in the India squad for the New Zealand series as well thanks to an injury to Sanju Samson.
“Jitesh has done really well and been rewarded for his performances. Unfortunately, Sanju Samson got injured and Jitesh got the opportunity,” he said.
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