Captain Hardik Pandya's apt 'don't need to prove' reply to Michael Vaughan's 'India biggest underperformers' remark
Hardik, who is slated to lead India in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand - India's first assignment after the World Cup - starting November 18, was asked about Vaughan's remarks and the all-rounder said they don't need to prove to anyone but there is definite room for improvement.
India's stand-in captain for the New Zealand series, Hardik Pandya, gave a classy response to former England captain Michael Vaughan, who criticised Team India's approach in white-ball cricket, calling them the 'biggest underperforming' team in the history of world cricket. Vaughan's comments came after India were knocked out from the semi-final of the T20 World Cup after suffering a confidence-denting 10-wicket defeat to eventual champions England. "India are the most underperforming white-ball team in history. I am just staggered by how they play T20 cricket for the talent they have. They have the players, but just do not have the right process in place. They have to go for it. Why do they give the opposition bowlers the first five overs to bed in?" Vaughan wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph slamming India's top-order for scoring at just about 6 runs per over in the powerplay. Among all the participating teams in this T20 World Cup, only UAE had a worse run rate than India in the powerplay.
Hardik, who is slated to lead India in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand - India's first assignment after the World Cup - starting November 18, was asked about Vaughan's remarks and the all-rounder said they don't need to prove to anyone but there is definite room for improvement. "Obviously when you don't do well, people will have their opinion, which we respect. I understand people have different points of view. Being at the international level, I don't think we need to prove anything to anyone. It's a sport, you keep trying to get better and eventually when the result is supposed to happen it will happen. There are things we need to work on, going forward we will rectify and work on it," Hardik said on Wednesday.
"There is a disappointment of the T20 World Cup, but we are professionals. We need to cope with it the way we cope with our success and move forward, look to get better and rectify the mistakes we made," he added.
Regular captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain KL Rahul and talisman Virat Kohli have been rested from the New Zealand tour. Many believe that the transition phase of the Indian team has already begun, especially in the shortest format of the game.
"Main boys are not here but the talent we have... The players who are already here, have been playing for India for one and a half two years now so they have had enough time in international cricket to express themselves. very excited for them, new guys, new bunch, new energy, so it's gonna be quite exciting," Hardik, who was one of India's top performers with both bat and ball and was also named as the 12th man in ICC's team of the tournament, said.
The likes of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, and Deepak Hooda are likely to get an opportunity in these matches against New Zealand.
"The next T20 World Cup will be in two years if I'm not wrong so we have time. Till then, a lot of cricket will be played, a lot of people will have enough chances. The roadmap starts now but it's quick (to make any comments). We'll sit down and start having those conversations. Right now, it's about letting the boys enjoy it, it's a beautiful country to play cricket, we'll talk about the future later," Hardik said.