‘It’s a beautiful country…..let them enjoy right now, we’ll talk about the future later’: Hardik Pandya on the road ahead for Team India

Appointed captain for the three-match T20I series in Ireland, Hardik Pandya believes that it is a chance for young players to make their space into the playing eleven but also added that the roadmap to the next T20 World Cup (2024) starts now, ‘ it’s too fresh’.

“Right now, it is just about making sure that we let the boys enjoy here,” Pandya said in a pre-series media interaction. “It’s a beautiful country. You get beautiful vibes as well. Yeah, let them enjoy right now, we’ll talk about the future later.”

“The next T20 World Cup will be in two years time. We have time. Till then a lot of cricket will be played. A lot of people will get enough chances.”

The upcoming bilateral will mark India’s return to the field following their T20 World Cup exit after a 10-wicket defeat to England in the semifinal at the Adelaide Oval last week.

How’s that for a Trophy unveil! 🤩 🏆#TeamIndia | #NZvIND

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— BCCI (@BCCI) November 16, 2022

“I mean, we all know that there’s a disappointment of the World Cup but we are professionals,” the India all-rounder said. “We need to cope with it. How we cope up with our successes, we also cope up with out failures and move forward to get better and rectify the mistakes which we did and just make sure that in this we don’t repeat them.”

On being asked if India had a point to prove going into this series and the criticism that the team had been associated with following the World Cup exit, Pandya said, “Nah, I mean obviously when you don’t do well, people will have their opinion, and which we respect. I understand where people are coming from. But no, I think being at the international level we don’t have to prove anything. It’s a sport. You keep trying. You keep getting better. And eventually, when the result is supposed to happen, it will happen.”

On New Zealand not being the favorites

When asked if India can be considered favorites going into the bilateral series under his captaincy, Pandya denied the same and praised the opposition.

“Not really. Martin (Guptill) did not play in the World Cup as well, still they were there in the semis. We all know that New Zealand have been a fantastic side over the years, who have always come and put up a show and always challenge you as a team.”

On Kane Williamson and IPL

Following the announcement of Sunrisers Hyderabad deciding not to retain their captain from last season, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya responded to questions of his Indian Premier League franchise Gujarat Titans being interested in the New Zealand skipper by stating, “Don’t know, too far to think right now.”

Further on being asked if he thought Williamson would be picked for the IPL, Pandya added, “For him, because he is a friend, yes. IPL is IPL, right now I’m playing India.”

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