‘I want more batters to chip in with the ball’: Captain Hardik's message to triumphant Team India after rocking New Zealand in 2nd T20I
India's stand-in shortest format's skipper Hardik Pandya heralded a new era for the young Men in Blue with an emphatic 65-run win over Kane Williamson-led Kiwis in the second T20I of the three-match series on Sunday (November 20).
Pandya understands that batters will not be successful every time they are given the ball to do the job but he wants to see more batting all-rounders in his side for better bowling options.
After Suryakumar Yadav slammed an unbeaten 51-ball 111, Deepak Hooda used his off-breaks to dismiss four batters, contributing in team's comprehensive victory over New Zealand.
Hooda is an effective batter in the lower middle order too.
"Can't get any better than this. Everyone chipped it but it was surely a special innings by Surya. We would have taken a score of 170-175," Pandya said during the post-match presentation.
"Bowlers did well and it was about being aggressive in the mindset. It doesn't mean taking a wicket every ball, but being aggressive with the ball is important.
"The conditions were very wet, so credit to the bowlers. I have bowled a lot, going forward I want to see more bowling options. Not always that this will work but I want more batters to chip in with the ball," he added.
Former players such as Anil Kumble and Michael Vaughan have pointed out India's lack of bowling options after their exit from the T20 World Cup, pitching for more batting all-rounders.
Pandya, who is captaining the team in absence of Rohit Sharma, said his job as a leader is to provide the team the right environment in the dressing room.
"I expect them to be professional, which they are. Give them the opportunity to enjoy themselves. It's about creating an environment where they are all in a happy space," said the 29-year-old.
"I see many times in this team that all the players are happy for each other's success. And that's important." New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted it was "not our best effort" and said Suryakumar's whirlwind innings made all the difference.
"Surya's innings was out of this world. One of the best knocks I've ever seen. Some of those shots, I've never seen before. They were outstanding," he said.
"We weren't upto mark. We didn't get momentum with the ball, didn't get enough wickets and didn't get momentum with the bat either. It was frustrating." Suryakumar hit as many as 11 boundaries and seven maximums during his second T20 hundred.
"...his innings was the difference. It did swing a bit (in the chase) and India did well to get some swing," Williamson said.
"Important to look at those few areas and improve. Need to look at the small margins. Sometimes, a special innings can happen, Surya is the best player in the world." Adjudged Player of the Match for his sensational knock, Suryakumar said he had a clear plan when he went out to bat.
"The plan was clear when I went into bat. At the 12th/13th over, we thought about batting deep and getting around 170-175 was a par score," he said.
"Secret (behind his freak shots) is about the intent and you need to enjoy yourself. It's also about the work you do in the practice sessions.
"It's a great feeling coming here, having a full game and going 1-0 in the series feels good. I feel that I didn't think too much about what was happening. Just had my gameplan and it worked well. Fantastic crowd here." India will play New Zealand in the third and final T20 on Tuesday.