'He not being there obviously makes a big difference': Hardik rues star player's absence after India's 1st T20I loss
Australia power packed batting wreaked havoc on India in a high-scoring thriller which saw Team India going down to the visitors by four wickets in the first T20I of the three-match series on Tuesday (September 20).
Rohit Sharma & Co's frailties with the ball were laid bare as Australia gunned down a formidable 209-run target rather comfortably with four balls to spare to start their campaign on a high.
Matthew Wade's 45 off 21 and Cameron Green's 61 off 30 were too hot for India despite KL Rahul's handsome 55 off 35 and Hardik Pandya's stunning 71 off 30.
India's bowling once again looked in lurch in absence of their pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. He was missed badly in the series opener against Australia on Tuesday as the visitors chased down 209 rather comfortably. Barring Axar Patel, all bowlers leaked more than 11 runs per over.
Hardik also highlighted Bumrah's importance in the team and also rued his absence.
"We all know what he brings to the table and how important he is for us. There will be concerns here and there (about bowling) which is fine. We got to trust our boys. These are the best 15 in the country and that is why they are there in the squad," said Hardik after India's loss.
"Jasprit not being there obviously makes a big difference. He is coming back after an injury, it is important for him to get enough time to kind of come back and may be not put a lot of pressure on himself," he further added Hardik.
Talking about his performances of late, he said: "I have gotten a lot of success recently but for me, what is more important is that even on my good days how can I get better? The kind of career graph I have had, I don't make a big deal about my performances whether success or failure.
"I had a good game today. They could target me in the next game and I need to be one step ahead." Australia went hammer and tongs in the run chase, making a mockery of the Indian attack.
Hardik gave credit to the opposition batters.
"There was no dew. You have to give credit to them the way they batted. They played good cricket. We could not execute our plans with the ball, with our deliveries.
"You can't pin point why we lost. It is a game. It is a bilateral series. We got two more matches and we will try to perform better." He also praised Cameron Green who smashed 61 off 30 balls on his opening debut and shocked the Indians with his assault.
"Good on him the way he played. We have seen a lot of videos but it is all about executing your plans. He played some good shots and credit where it is due," added Hardik.
Team India will play the second T20I against Australia on September 23 and look to bounce back in order to keep the series alive.