"He was very important but..."- IND stand-in captain Hardik Pandya's blunt reaction on Rishabh Pant's future after accident
India will lock horns with Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series starting on January 6 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Hardik Pandya will lead the team, while Suryakumar Yadav will be the vice captain. All senior players in the shorter format have been given rest by the BCCI.
This will be the first series that India will play after Rishabh Pant's horrible car accident. The 25-year-old is currently undergoing medical treatment and will take at least 3-6 months to completely recover. He was an important member of the side, especially when the 2023 ODI World Cup was to be held in India.
And it will be a big gap that the Indian management will have to work on. India's stand-in captain, Hardik Pandya, believes Pant is an important member of the team and wishes him a speedy recovery.
On the eve of the first T20I against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede, Hardik addressed the media. He also stated that Pant's absence might be an opportunity for other players to prove their worth on the team.
He said, 'What happened is very unfortunate. As a team we wish him all the best. He was very important but everyone knows where the situation stands. If Rishabh was there it would have made a big difference because of the kind of player he is."
After the three T20Is, both teams will play a three-match ODI series as well. Notably, all seniors will be back in ODIs, and Rohit Sharma will be leading the side while Hardik will be his deputy. The year 2022 saw a number of players leading the team in different formats.
Hardik has stated that the Indian team is looking to play a specific template and that the same strategy will be followed regardless of the leader. He also said that there are not many games before the start of the World Cup, so we want to give chances to everyone at the right time.
Furthermore, he also said that India followed the same template before the 2022 T20 World Cup as well, but things didn't go their way. But for him, the main thing is to give confidence to the players and get the best out of them.