India won the three-match T20I series against New Zealand 1-0 after the third match ended in a tie thanks to a rain interruption. In chase of 161, India were 75/4 in 9 Overs – DLS par score at that stage – when rain arrived and didn’t allow any further play resulting in the tie.
The series kickstarted India’s transition phase post the T20 World Cup in Australia. Several players on the fringes and youngsters were part of the T20I squad, led by Hardik Pandya.
Among those was wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson who surprisingly didn’t get a single game during the series. It was expected that the tourists might give chances to Samson, Umran Malik, Shubman Gill in the third T20I with India having already taken an unassailable 1-0 lead but the only change was Harshal Patel replacing allrounder Washington Sundar for the series decider.
Shreyas Iyer played in both the matches (first T20I was abandoned without the toss) but he only managed 13 and a first-ball duck during the series. His twin failures have invited severe criticism from former India cricketer Dodda Ganesh who lashed out at the team management’s approach towards T20 cricket.
“By picking Iyer ahead of Samson the Indian think tank has reiterated that they’ll not learn from their mistakes and they shall never change their approach towards T20,” Ganesh tweeted on Tuesday.
By picking Iyer ahead of Samson the Indian think tank has reiterated that they’ll not learn from their mistakes and they shall never change their approach towards T20 #DoddaMathu #crickettwitter #NZvIND— Dodda Ganesh | ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ (@doddaganesha) November 22, 2022
During a post-match media interaction, captain Pandya explained why Samson and others didn’t get a chance.
“If they are sitting out… Sanju Samson, for example: we wanted to play him, but for whatever reason, we couldn’t,” Pandya said. “But I can get into their shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a cricketer, it is difficult, whatever one might say. You are in the Indian team, but you are not getting a chance in the XI, so that’s difficult. At the end of the day, I can say whatever I want, but those will just be words. It will still be difficult for them to deal with. But if I can create a healthy environment, where the players can come and speak to me if they are feeling bad, or go and speak to the coach, if I remain the captain, I think it won’t be a problem. Because my nature is such that I make sure everyone is together.”
Pandya said outside voices don’t matter to him and there’s plenty of time for every player to stake his claim.
“What people are saying from outside, it doesn’t matter much at this level,” Pandya said. “This is my team, firstly. The coach and I will pick the team we feel is right.”
He added, “”There’s 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 and in future also, I wouldn’t believe.”