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Hardik Pandya clarifies taking new ball, Axar Patel final over after thrilling win

image-lcgj9terHardik Pandya gestures to the crowd after win (Source: Twitter/BCCI)

Team India launched their 2023 cricketing calendar with a thrilling two-run win in their series opener against Sri Lanka. Under interim skipper Hardik Pandya, the ‘Men in Blue’ have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with the second game set to be played in Pune on January 5.

After the match, captain Pandya explained his decision to take up the new ball and also clarified why he appointed Axar Patel to bowl the tense final over of the game.

Team India celebrates after close win over Sri Lanka, watch video

Hardik Pandya says he has been taking new ball in the nets

Much to everyone’s surprise, Pandya delivered the opening over of the Sri Lankan run-chase. The star all-rounder hurled three overs in total and only conceded 12 runs off his spell. While the skipper himself went wicketless, he enabled others to pile on the pressure and take wickets, with debutant Shivam Mavi being the biggest benefactor of his skipper’s sublime opening gambit.

After the match, the all-rounder stated that he has been taking the new ball in the nets a lot since last year’s IPL.

“I have been bowling in the nets with the new ball since I returned in the IPL. I have learnt how to swing it back,”

He also backed his decision to give Axar Patel the risky final over of the innings. Furthermore, he praised debutant Mavi and said that he was always going to support the young speedster.

(On Axar Patel final over) We might lose a game here and there but it's alright. It's the young guys who got us back into the game. I have seen him (Shivam Mavi) bowling well in the IPL and I just told him to simply bowl. I told him, 'I am backing you. Even if you get hit, it's fine.”

Also Read: Deepak Hooda, debutant Mavi drive India to early honours in T20Is