Watch: Hardik Pandya takes trophy and hands it over to 'shocked' Prithvi Shaw in unexpected move after India beat NZ
When Hardik Pandya collected the trophy, he went straight to the players and handed over the trophy to Prithvi Shaw, who did not get a game but appeared to be the most excited of the lot. Prithvi was more than happy to take the trophy from Hardik, stand in the middle and pose for photographs.
Hardik Pandya had a puzzled look when he was named the Player of the Series after India won the third and final T20I against New Zealand in Ahmedabad and also the series. He hadn't done anything earth-shattering in the three-match series that India won 2-1 but in every match of the series, he made valuable contributions, especially in the field as a captain and as a bowler in the powerplay. There was no surprise when Hardik dedicated the award to the young team that came back from 0-1 down to win two matches on the bounce and take the series. Hardik has captained India in four T20I series now and he has won all of them.
That he is a players' captain needs no second guessing. He announced to the world that if the team loses under his leadership, he wants to make sure, it is because of his decisions and he is ready to take the fall for it.
"I have got a very simple rule about my life and captaincy: if I go down, I will go down on my decisions. So at the end of the day, I take calls on my own because I like to take ownership. When I played the IPL final, I felt the second innings was spicier. We want to normalise these pressure games, and hopefully, we can do better at bigger stages," he said at the post-match presentation after India won the 3rd T20I against New Zealand by 168 runs - their biggest margin of victory in this format - in Ahmedabad.
When he collected the trophy, he went straight to the players and handed over the trophy to Prithvi Shaw, who did not get a game but appeared to be the most excited of the lot. Prithvi was more than happy to take the trophy from Hardik, stand in the middle and pose for photographs.
Interestingly, Hardik was criticised a lot for not giving Prithvi a single and persisiting with Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill as openers.
Watch Video: Hardik Pandya hands over winning trophy to Prithvi Shaw
Opener Shubman Gill set up India's series-clinching victory. He smashed an unbeaten 126 off 63 balls to steer the team to 234-4 after they elected to bat first in the decider. Indian bowlers skittled out the Kiwis for a paltry 66 in 12.1 overs for a 2-1 series win. The hosts had whitewashed the Kiwis in three one-day matches.
Gill, who hit a match-winning Test ton in Bangladesh in December and then his maiden ODI double hundred in January, had scored just 76 runs in his previous five T20s since making his debut last month against Sri Lanka.
"I was backing myself to get the big ones even in one-days and T20s, unfortunately, it didn't happen for me in the Sri Lanka series," said the 23-year-old Gill.
Asked about the demands of playing all three formats, Gill said: "When you are representing your country, I don't think there is any kind of fatigue. I always wanted to play for India and being fortunate enough to play all three formats, it is a blessing."