Hardik Pandya on Thursday said Shubman Gill will open for India in the T20 series against New Zealand instead of Prithvi Shaw, who has made a comeback to the national team. He also gave a reason for choosing Jitesh Sharma in the squad instead of Sanju Samson.
Considering Gill's sensational run in ODIs, Hardik said his selection was a no-brainer. Gill has smashed three hundred including a double ton in his last four innings. Ishan Kishan is expected to open alongside Gill.
"Shubman has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting and was already in the team," said Hardik ahead of the first T20I in Ranchi.
The skipper also said wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma has been rewarded for his performances in the IPL and domestic cricket but did not commit whether he will be in the playing eleven.
"Our strategy will be seen on the ground. Jitesh has been rewarded for his performances. Unfortunately, Sanju Samson got injured and Jitesh got the opportunity.
"We will try to win obviously. New Zealand is a good team both in T20Is and ODIs. They always challenge you.
We will have to be at their best to beat them," he added.
India won the ODI series 3-0 and it is being followed by three T20Is in Ranchi, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad respectively.
Hardik bowled with the new ball in the T20Is against Sri Lanka before doing the same in the third ODI against New Zealand on Tuesday with Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj being rested from the game.
Hardik said he likes bowling with the new ball.
"I have always enjoyed bowling with the new ball. For quite a number of years whenever I bowl in the nets, I pick the new ball. I am used to the old ball so I don't feel the need to practice with the old ball as much. It has helped in match situations.
"With our two main bowlers rested in the last game, I had to be ready. But (it) has never been about pressure, half of the times pressure is gone if you prepare well," said Hardik.
(Inputs from PTI)