The new year will begin with a home T20I series against rivals Sri Lanka, captained by stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya. The mercurial all-rounder is upbeat about his team’s prospects in the next series and believes that their ‘body language is enough’ to terrify the visitors.
Although the hosts are missing many important players for the series, including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, their fearsome home record against the islands makes them the clear favourites for the three-match series. While numerous Indian players are still reeling after the devastating loss to Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2022, stand-in captain Hardik Pandya is looking forward to playing excellent cricket.
The renowned all-rounder is not aiming to settle any scores, but he is determined to stop the Sri Lankan players who derailed their ambitions at last year’s Asia Cup. Despite numerous new faces in the team, Pandya’s India are expected to play a bold style of cricket.
“We don’t want to settle anything [after the Asia Cup defeat], we just want to play excellent cricket. Yes, we will make them feel as if they are in India; don’t worry about it; I guarantee and promise you that they will feel as if they are playing an international team, especially one from India. So, from my guys and myself, we’ll be clear. We don’t need to sledge them; our body language is enough to make them feel terrified, which we will do, I assure you “During the pre-match news conference on Monday, the stand-in captain said.
India has never lost a home T20I series against their opponents, and a convincing series win this year would boost Hardik Pandya’s status as a leader even further. With the 2024 T20 World Cup still a long way off, he is widely seen as the front-runner to succeed the injured Rohit Sharma.