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‘I want my players to enjoy the game and play with freedom’ – Hardik Pandya

Wellington, Nov 23, (Fast Mail News):-- The third T20I between India and New Zealand ended in a tie, and the Men in Blue won the three-match series 1-0. After the game, skipper Hardik Pandya stated that he wants to give his boys the freedom to express themselves.


"In my view, as a captain, I want to give as much freedom as possible, the kind of culture where the player can go out there and play with freedom. It was there during the World Cup too. Obviously, there were things we couldn't do better, those things got highlighted and we couldn't win. But going forward, it would always be. The attempt would be to enjoy the game, if you want to hit the first ball, we will always back you and we will try to ensure that the players play with freedom," said Hardik in the post-match press conference.


"What people are saying from outside, it doesn't matter much at this level. This is my team, firstly. The coach and I will pick the team we feel is right. There is a lot of time, everyone will get a chance, when one gets a chance, he will get a long run. If it was a longer series, if there were more matches, obviously opportunities would have been given. But when it is a short series, I don't believe in chop and change,” he added.


The skipper also said that India will continue to play an aggressive brand of cricket in T20Is.


“In T20 cricket, you definitely get hit, somewhere down the line if you go on defence as a bowler, you will have good days but at the same point of time, you're not having a good day, it will literally haunt you. So for me, and for my bowling unit, the plan is simple: let's be aggressive. What is going to happen? We will lose the game,” said Hardik.


"As I mentioned in the last game as well, it is not about being aggressive, it is not about going for a wicket every ball, it is about your behaviour. It is about your attitude, it is about your body language. Going forward, we will maintain this, we will be aggressive as a bowling unit and at the same point of time, we will pick bowlers who can intimidate batters if needed."


The 29-year-old also said that the T20I series against the Kiwis was an important one.


"It was a short tour but it was important. The way we played and dominated in the second game, going forward it would give a lot of confidence to the team. There are certain things that we need to do better going forward, I think this was one step, we have time. But it has started from here, whatever series we play from here, we will try to get better,” added Hardik.


"It was simple, whatever was needed for the team, like I needed a sixth bowling option, that thing has come in this tour. The way Deepak (Hooda) has bowled, if slowly the batters can chip in like that. Eventually, in T20 cricket, even if the game isn't going anywhere, you can dictate by using new bowlers and surprise the batter."

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