Hardik Pandya made his captaincy debut and made an instant impact winning the toss against Ireland in Malahide. Unlike Rishabh Pant, who had lost five toss successively, the Baroda all-rounder had some luck with the coin. However, some fans were in for a rude shock when they saw the playing eleven and realised Sanju Samson’s name was missing. They saw that Deepak Hooda was put in at number three which had certainly angered RR skipper’s fans on social media. Later former cricketer Ashish Nehra explained why Hooda was preferred over Samson.
“No, it’s not a tough call at all. Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi has come in place of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Deepak Hooda was already in the squad and even Venkatesh Iyer didn’t play a match against South Africa. And the kind of performance, Deepak Hooda did in IPL as he is one of those players who played for Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy, the whole season he scored runs, then in the IPL also,” he told Sony Liv’s pre match show ‘Extra Innings.’
“He started the tournament, playing at 5 or 6 (for LSG) and then he was promoted to number three and there also he did well. So his confidence must be high.”
“And it is good to see that he was in the squad before Samson arrived and he was backed before him. He is a sincere player and we know there are so many T20 games coming. And as we saw the squad was same in all five games against South Africa, he would hope that he is persisted with.”
Meanwhile Umran Malik also made his India debut which meant Harshal Patel was dropped. Speaking further about this Jammu pacer, Virender Sehwag said the tables have now turned. Earlier India used to go abroad thinking they don’t have the pace battery, Sehwag said the situation has now reversed.
“The best thing is that he (Malik) has got an opportunity to play the IPL, even if it is against Ireland. And this is not like that he got his opportunity because players are not there. He got his opportunity due to his merit. There are very few people who bowl consistently at 150, very less. Just one or two Indian pacers have bowled 150. I don’t care if he picks wickets or not, if he bowls at 150 plus, I am sure he will be feared,”
“When we used to tour earlier, we used to think that we don’t have the pace battery like the opposition. But now it is the exact opposite. Now, let’s see can he break Shoaib Akhtar’s record? I think he can,” Sehwag said.