Indian head coach Anil Kumble has said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be given a lot of freedom to perform, both with the bat and the ball and added that his performance on his ODI debut at Dharamshala would have given him a lot of confidence.
“He is someone who obviously gives us the right balance. He bowls at a decent pace and it was nice that he really bowled well in his first game with the new ball. That was a strategy that MS wanted to Hardik to try and it was really heartening that he came up with a Man of the Match performance in his first game and that should give him a lot of confidence. All-rounders who can bowl quick and can bat are certainly an asset and he is someone who we will closely monitor and see how he progresses,
“For someone who is just starting out, we don't want to give him definite batting plans and put pressure on him. He is someone who likes the freedom and that exact what we have given him. We don't want to burden him. We have told him to bowl with freedom and not worry about getting hit. Same is the case with his batting as well. He has all the freedom,” Kumble told at the pre-match press conference.
Manish Pandey to continue in position
With Suresh Raina ruled out for a second consecutive game, India will more or less go with the same line-up that went at Dharamshala and Kumble said that while Manish Pandey could bat at that position for now, they could alter the line-up based on the situation.
“We have a couple of options. Obviously, Manish Pandey has done really well in the recent past. He started off well in the last game also. I think in ODI cricket, it is not necessary that one needs to have certain position fixed as far as batting goes. It all depends on the situation. Manish has showed a lot of promise and has backed unit as well. That's quite heartening.
“He has a lot of experience in domestic cricket. It gives him an advantage as to what to do. So we are not looking at him as say a Hardik. He certainly is a Number four who we can rely upon, but based on the situation, we will alter the order,” he said.
In the absence of both Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, Kumble confirmed that Ajinkya Rahane will open the innings for India for the remaining four ODIs in this series.
"At the moment he fits at the top of the order and that's something that we will persist with. It does give us an option once Dhawan and Rahul are fit, but we will probably look at that after the Test series against England. but in this ODI series, Rahane is definitely going to open the batting and then, later on, looking at the Champions Trophy, we will how the order shapes up then,” he said.
India have a good record at the Kotla, having lost just the solitary ODI in the past and Kumble felt that while statistically, it gives a good reading, one does not necessarily give too much importance to them.
“I like coming to the Kotla. If as a player you have done well at a venue, then you carry that confidence. You don’t necessarily keep records in mind. But we will not think on those lines and instead carry forward what we did in Dharamshala. Nice to hear that we have won 5 out of 6 games that we played here,” he said.