"He will start..."- Hardik Pandya confirms India's opening pair for 1st T20I vs NZ 

"He will start..."- Hardik Pandya confirms India's opening pair for 1st T20I vs NZ 
India will lock horns in the first T20I of the upcoming series against New Zealand in Ranchi at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium. The game will start at 7 p.m. in the evening. Team India will be seen without Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the shorter format.

It means that Rohit will not be available for the opening slot. On the other hand, Ruturaj Gaikwad has been ruled out of the series due to a wrist injury and will report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehab.

Thus, India now has the option of Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, and Prithvi Shaw as specialist openers in the team. Notably, Shaw has made his comeback to the team after a long gap of 20 months. He played his last game for India in July 2021 against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

In the absence of Rohit, it will be Hardik Pandya who will lead the side and Suryakumar Yadav as vice captain. However, ahead of the first T20I during the pre-match conference, stand-in captain Hardik confirmed India's opening combination for the first game.

Hardik said, "Prithvi Shaw will have to wait for his opportunity as Shubman Gill has done very well and was already part of the T20 team. Shubman will start because of the way he is batting."

Gill has been in red-hot form and has been scoring runs consistently. He just won "Man of the Series" in the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand. He scored 360 runs in three innings at an average and strike rate of 180 and 128.58, respectively.

Gill also scored two centuries, including his maiden double century in the first game in Hyderabad. Furthermore, Hardik also spoke about his bowling form. He said that he is enjoying bowling with the new ball. Hardik bowled with the new ball for India in the third and final ODI in the absence of Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami.

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