Ireland vs Ind 1. T20I

When India started chasing 109 in the first T20I against Ireland in Malahide, they sent out Deepak Hooda, instead of the regular opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, to start the round with Ishan Kishan. It seemed like a tactical decision at the time, with the freer scoring Hooda preferred in a match shortened by rain to 12 overs per side. However, it turned out later that Gaikwad did not strike because he had picked up a calf niggle.
“Rutu had a niggle in his leg,” India captain Hardik Pandya said at his post-match press conference. “We had the choice between taking a risk and sending him in [to open], but I was not ok with it. A player’s well-being is more important, and [I thought] we will be able to control what happens in the fight.

“It was quite easy after that, it was not much of a decision to make, no matter what ours [batting-order] The numbers were that we all went up one place and it was not a big headache. We wanted to make sure we did not take any chances with Rutu. “

The chance to open turned out to be a good opportunity for Hooda to show off their skills, having been on the bench throughout the recently concluded five-match T20I series against South Africa. Hooda scored the top scorer for India with an unbeaten 47 off 29 balls as they romped to a victory with seven wickets with 16 balls left.

Hooda was not the only unused player from the South Africa series who got a chance here. Umran Malik received his first India cap, an event that created significant buzz between the throw and the delayed start of the game. It turned out, however, that he was only allowed to bowl one over in the shortened game, and gave away a four and a six to Ireland’s top scorer Harry Tector.

It was too short a performance to draw any conclusions from, and Hardik had encouraging words for the fast bowler.

“When you play for India for the first time and the journey he has taken, it is important to give such a bowler and such a talent time,” he said. “Whether it was a good day or a bad day is irrelevant. For him, just playing for India is a very big thing in itself, and that’s something I’m very happy about, [irrespective] of how the result went, good or bad, it’s okay.

“It’s part of the game, but at the same time, from here he will only get better, the more matches he plays, and it’s a big thing for him to play for India, for anyone to play for India I will leave “Enjoy this moment because it does not come every time. A debut happens only once.”

Hardik had a generous word for Tector as well, and even revealed that he had given him one of the bat, when asked if Ireland’s No. 4’s unbeaten 64 of 33 balls indicated a future in the IPL.

“He played some fantastic shots, and obviously, he’s 22, I’ve given him a bat too, so maybe he can score a few more sixes and maybe get an IPL contract, and I wish him luck,” Hardik said. “Just take good care of him, give him the right guidance. It’s not always about cricket; it’s about understanding your whole lifestyle and what’s at stake. If you can do that, I’m sure he’s going to be around. – not just in the IPL, in all the leagues in the world. “