Hardik Pandya emerged as the star for India in the limited-overs series and asserted after the third T20I that it was a team effort that helped them win the series 2-1. Hardik Pandya had played a match-winning hand in the second T20I when he hammered 42* off 22 to seal the T20I series.
When Hardik Pandya was announced as the Man-of-the-Series, it was met with a lot of shock given that T Natarajan was considered as the favourite to win the award after he emerged as the best bowler in a high-scoring series, barring the first T20I in Canberra. But, there was no denying to the role that Pandya played in the series especially the second game, where it was his 22-ball 42* that helped India chase a big target of 195 runs.
Even today, junior Pandya hit one four and two sixes in his brief stay at the crease in which he made 20 off 13 to give India a glimmer of hope after what looked like an improbable chase. But after he got out, captain Kohli had too much to do and as a result, India fell short by 12 runs. Pandya, speaking in the post-match presentation, asserted that he is very happy with the series win and termed it a result of the great team effort.
"I am very pleased, and wouldn't mind getting the Man of the Series award, but it was a team effort. After the 2nd ODI we thought we'd think of this this a 4-match series and we managed to get three wins, so happy with that. I don't mind giving interviews because you only have those when you're on the winning side," Hardik said in the post-match presentation.
There have been calls to include the Baroda all-rounder in the Test side as well owing to his great form in the white-ball series which saw him make twin 90s in the three-match ODI series and play two good cameos in the T20I series. When asked about the possibility of joining the Test side, he stated that's it's not something in his hands and right now, he's looking forward to seeing his family again. "I haven't seen my child for four months, so I'd like to spend some time with family right now," he stated.
India won the T20I series 2-1 and will now lock horns with Australia in the Test series from December 17. But before that, they will play a day-night warm-up game in Sydney.