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India, after losing the fourth ODI by 11 runs in Antigua, will look to turn the tables and seal the series in the final ODI at Sabina Park on Thursday. The Men in Blue failed to chased down a 190-run target set by the Windies but Hardik Pandya, who had a decent partnership with MS Dhoni, continues to back himself to do the job as a finisher for the side.
“The conversation with MS was pretty simple to be honest. The power which we both have we thought to take the innings deep and then chase it down. Most times we would chase 31 off 29 balls but then we were not able to finish. I back myself to finish the game for the team and all these instances are part of the learnings,” Pandya said during a practice session at Sabina Park.
Dhoni, who has been under scrutiny for his poor run with the bat, played the slowest innings in his international career where the right-handed batsman brought up his 64th ODI fifty in 108 balls. Pandya promises that team India will bounce back in the series decider as they play their best game when under pressure.
“We will be fearless in the final game. Last game was one of those games where it did not click. But we will go ahead and express ourselves, that is when we play our best cricket,” he said further.
Pandya was in good touch with the bat in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan before he was involved in a terrible mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja. When asked about the incident, he said, “It took a lot of time. Only three minutes to be honest. It was just an outburst. I get hyper quickly and after few minutes I was laughing in the dressing room. Looking at me, some of the players were laughing too.”
Ever since making his debut against New Zealand in 2016, Hardik has gone on to become a vital member in the 50-overs side. He believes that he can contribute equally with both bat and ball.
“I am pretty happy with the way things are going for me. Both with bat and ball. You should be brave enough to do the job that is required of you. I back myself to play in any situation. I see myself as a proper all-rounder and not bowling or batting all- rounder.”
Pandya credits skipper Kohli for the improvement his game has undergone and believes Kohli has been a big influence on him. He also revealed that he was aware of the conditions in the Caribbean because of his Mumbai Indians’ teammates Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons.
“I am pretty close to the names you took (Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons, who are not part of the ODI team). The first call was to Pollard. I asked him about the pitches and conditions. They are my brothers from another mother. It would have been nice to play with them and enjoy some healthy banter,” he concluded.