How Kohli’s advice led to India’s massive ODI victory

‘I had a great chat with Virat before the game. Really thankful for him to share that experience with me’

India’s stand-in skipper, Hardik Pandya, expressed his delight after leading the team to a thrilling 2-1 series victory against West Indies.

In the post-match presentation, Pandya revealed his fondness for captaining high-stake matches, saying, “It’s a special win. To be honest, I look forward to these kinds of games as a captain where there is something on the line. This was more than an international game. We knew what was at stake, and there would be a lot of disappointment if we lost. The boys showed great character. They enjoyed it as well; in pressure situations, it’s important to enjoy it too.”

Pandya emphasised the significance of resting key players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to provide opportunities to youngsters like Ruturaj Gaikwad.

He shared, “Virat and Rohit are integral parts of the team. But it was important to rest them so that people like Ruturaj Gaikwad could get a chance. It was about giving opportunities to youngsters.”

Regarding his batting strategy, Pandya mentioned that he intentionally took it deep to spend more time in the middle and get accustomed to the 50-over format. He also appreciated the advice given by Virat Kohli, stating, “I had a great chat with Virat before the game; he wanted me to spend some time out in the middle and get used to the 50-over format. Really thankful for him to share that experience with me.”

Pandya acknowledged the crucial role played by the bowlers, particularly Mukesh Kumar and Shardul Thakur, in securing the massive 200-run victory. He commented, “Once you hit one ball and get into rhythm, things are very different. The ball was doing just a bit. Scoring 350 was always crucial. When you have a total like that, batters chase the ball, and if luck is on your side, batters will nick it. Couple of really good catches by Gill.”

Reflecting on the West Indies’ performance, Pandya stated that they woke up late and credited the partnership that took the game into the 34th over. He also mentioned some challenges faced during the tour and expressed hope for better facilities in the future. Pandya also playfully offered the trophy to Rohit Sharma for his part in the series win, saying, “Rohit can have the full (trophy).”

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