Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Hardik Pandya was happy to help fill Jasprit Bumrah’s “very big shoes” after playing with bat and ball in India’s decisive win over England.
Back spasms meant striker Bumrah was ruled out of Sunday’s third and decisive One-Day International at Old Trafford.
But after substitute Mohammed Siraj rocked England with a double-wicket maiden in their opening run, medium-paced player Hardik won the best ODI 4-24 as the hosts were dismissed for 259.
The 28-year-old Hardik followed that up with a fine 71 and shared a decisive 133-in-19-over partnership with Rishabh Pant after India collapsed to 72-4 against another fine new-ball spell from Reece Topley.
The victory, completed with over seven overs to spare, gave India a 2-1 series success after winning the previous Twenty20 campaign against England, the over-50 world champions, by the same scoreline .
“It’s always special to contribute in all departments,” the Hardik series player told reporters.
While Hardik’s excellent 55-ball innings, which included 10 fours, ended with India just short of victory, Pant saw them home thanks to a stunning 125 not out – the goalkeeper’s first ODI cent. counter.
“You always yearn to play like that when your team is struggling,” said Pant, the 24-year-old southpaw, who already has five centuries of Testing under his belt.
Hardik added: “We all know what kind of talent he (Pant) has. When he comes out it’s very pleasing to the eye – your heart rate also goes up but at the same time you’re impressed with the kind of kicks he’s got. ‘he has coins.’
Regarding his bowling, Hardik said: “We knew Jasprit was not going to play this game.
“He was telling me maybe I should do a few death overs, I said those are ‘very big shoes to fill’.
“I had to step in, not to the death, but making sure that in the middle I got the breakthroughs.”
It was India’s first international match at Old Trafford after a grueling defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals.
But with India hosting next year’s edition and a Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October before that, Hardik was firmly focused on the future which for him begins with an upcoming series in the West Indies.
“The past is the past, the Manchester semi-final is over,” he said.
“You can’t change anything and in cricket there is no revenge, it doesn’t matter to be honest. For us it was important how we move forward from here.
“England have been fantastic over the past two years, everyone thought England were one of the best teams in the world. Coming here, playing and winning is more important.”
England captain Jos Buttler, who had the top score for the hosts with 60, was left behind when he missed a chance to drop Pant as his glove rival had made 18.
“If you give good players a second chance, there’s a good chance they’ll hurt you,” Buttler said. “Rishabh is a fearless player, someone who is great to watch in any format.”
England begin a three-game ODI run against South Africa on Tuesday with Buttler, who only recently took over from retired World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan as captain, optimistic they will be better for their experience in India.
“We haven’t played much ODI cricket recently and the rhythm is working again,” he said.
“Our ambition is to be the best team in the world and that means adapting quickly to what lies ahead.”
© 2022 AFP