India vs Australia: We will be trying to be a little brave: Hardik
IMAGE: Hardik Pandya said he has faith in the management’s decision on managing the players’ workload. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
India all-rounder and stand-in captain for the first ODI in Mumbai against Australia, Hardik Pandya said on Thursday that bilateral series are as competitive as ICC tournaments and brooding over failures in past global competitions is an exercise in futility.
India have usually done well in bilateral series — both home and away — but have been failing regularly in ICC tournaments for close to a decade now, with the most recent disappointment being the semi-final defeat to England in the T20 World Cup in Australia last year.
Pandya said the team had not tried anything new to change the trend and the focus has been on learning from bilateral fixtures.
“I don’t think we have tried anything new. We will be trying to be a little brave which I think in the last couple of series we have done quite well,” the all-rounder told the media at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
“All these bilaterals are as challenging, they can get as close to the wire as they can. That is the only way we are going to learn and start playing under pressure of knockouts (in ICC tournaments). (But) we don’t need to look at that right now, the past is past and we are hoping for the best things to come,” Pandya added.
Pandya, who is also the vice-captain of the Indian side for the three-match series against Australia, said the players are comfortable with workload-related calls made by the management.
“We have to have faith in our strength and conditioning coaches. I am a guy who trusts his team. These calls of workload, who should play when, who should not play, that is completely on the guys who are professionals and it is their call,” Pandya said.
“All these guys are confident that if they miss out on some matches, then they miss out. It’s okay. That’s the confidence we have. If someone misses out because of workload management, this management has shown confidence and trust in the players. I think that’s the reason players who have gone out have come back with a lot of security,” he added.
The 29-year-old all-rounder said he is ready to share whatever workload comes along with the other bowlers. “Whatever the situation requires, I will do it,” he said when asked if he was ready to bowl a full quota of 10 overs.
Pandya opined that ODI matches are more settled and give teams a longer duration to execute their plans. “ODIs are just an extension of the T20 game in which you have to make a lot of changes. You have to be at it because every over, every ball changes the game. In ODIs you have more set plans, once you start something, the same plan could be going on for six overs. It is just (about) how we can control that period,” he said.
Pandya also said the Indian players are used to competing in the Indian Premier League, especially when the tournament is around a major bilateral series. The third ODI against Australia will be played on March 22 in Chennai, while the IPL 2023 begins on March 31.
“We all are professionals and this is not the first time we are playing the IPL. This is going to be my ninth or 10th and almost everyone has been around for far too long. Playing for the country is a different honour and pride so that does not even come into question,” he said.
“To be very honest, I had to think about this question for the first time because I don’t think any individual has got this thought of motivating more because the IPL is around. IPL is IPL, how we take it series by series, even the IPL will be the same,” the all-rounder explained.
Pandya added that he has no ambitions of representing India in the final of the ICC World Test Championship to be played against Australia at The Oval in June this year.
“No. I am ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10 per cent to reach there. I am not even a part of one per cent. So, me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot. Hence, for that reason I will not be available for the WTC final or future Test series until I don’t feel that I have earned my spot,” he said.