Birmingham, June 6: The reason behind Hardik Pandya's batting promotion against Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, has been revealed.
It was a surprise move from the Indian team management to send Pandya ahead of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Edgbaston Stadium. But this change in batting order was done at the last minute by head coach Anil Kumble.
"I got to know in the 46th over, when coach (Kumble) told me, 'You will be going next, go pad up.' Obviously, I padded up quickly and once I got my gloves, I went out straightaway because Yuvi paa got out," Pandya told the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a post-match interview. (Match scorecard)
The right-hander came out to bat at number 5 after the dismissal of Yuvraj Singh, who hit a superb 32-ball 53.
The 23-year-old Pandya admitted there was pressure on him.
"Honestly I won't lie, pressure was there. But still at the back of my mind, I was thinking of it as a normal game because I didn't want to take unnecessary pressure. In any game, I wouldn't want to take unnecessary pressure on myself because that makes you do something that you are not supposed to do.
"Even this game, I was keeping pretty normal. I was pretty calm, composed. I tried not to think of it as a big match as well, just take it as a normal game, an important game for India like any match we play. And eventually we did pretty well and won it," he added.
Pandya justified Kumble's decision as he smashed 3 sixes in the final over. He remained unbeaten on 20 off 8 balls as India posted 319/3 in 48 overs in the rain-hit contest on Sunday (June 4). In reply, Pakistan were all out for 164 as India won by 124 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method.
It was a good all-round performance by Pandya as he later took 2 wickets in his 8-over spell.
Defending champions India next face Sri Lanka on Thursday (June 8). Their last league game is against South Africa on Sunday (June 11).