Rishabh Pant, the newly-appointed captain for India's five-match T20I series against South Africa at home, said that it is a great feeling to get an opportunity to lead his side for the first time in his hometown.
India will kick-start the five-match T20 series at home against the Proteas at Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
"It is a great feeling to get an opportunity like this in my hometown. I will try to make the most of it and give my 100 per cent. It feels good (to be appointed as captain). It did not come under good circumstances but at the same time, I am happy. I would like to thank BCCI for giving me this opportunity to lead the Indian side. I will try to make the most of it," said Pant in a press conference.
Pant said that in absence of KL Rahul as a captain, there would not be many changes in the batting order.
"We will see if we need a floating batting line-up in such conditions. We do not really need it in such conditions. We will not try to move a lot, but if we have to, we will," he added.
Pant agreed that his experience as a Delhi Capitals skipper in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will help him during the series.
"When you keep doing the same thing over a period of time, you tend to improve. I am someone who keeps learning from my mistakes and I think this is gonna help me in the coming days," he added.
Pant said that he will try to grab as many positives from vice-captain Hardik Pandya, who won the maiden IPL title for Gujarat Titans in their debut season as a captain. "He has won an IPL and it is a big thing. I will try to learn from him as much as we can," he added.
The captain said that the team is thinking about the upcoming T20 World Cup which will take place later this year and there will be changes in the way the side plays its cricket in the coming days.
Pant said that as a team, it is being tried that as many chances as possible are given to players.
"With a large squad, it is difficult to give everyone an equal amount of playtime. We will discuss it as a team," he added.
On working with Rahul Dravid as a captain-coach duo, recalling his under-19 days with the legendary batter, Pant said that there is a lot to learn from Dravid in terms of discipline, conduct and game tactics.
Pant termed Jammu and Kashmir pace sensation, Umran Malik, as an amazing prospect for the team.
"Over time he will learn how to control his aggression and line and length. But he has already bowled nicely in the IPL. Going forward, we will see him in flying colours but it is gonna take time," he added.
The captain said that the heat will play its part in the series. "We might get dehydrated or tired early. But it is part of the game. We have to focus on improving, not think about the heat too much, think about the game and tactics," he added.
Batter KL Rahul and spinner Kuldeep Yadav have been ruled out of the five-match T20I series against South Africa at home due to injury.
The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant as Captain and Hardik Pandya as vice-captain for the home series against South Africa.
Team India is chasing history during the bilateral series - should they win the opening match, they will achieve an all-time record of winning 13 consecutive T20Is. The team is also preparing for the ICC T20 World Cup later in Australia this year.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been rested from the series. After delivering great performances in IPL 2022, pacers Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik got their maiden Team India call-up for the series.
Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik both have been exceptional for their IPL franchises this year. The former has been one of Punjab Kings' leading pacers, specially picking wickets at regular intervals in the death overs. In 36 IPL matches, Arshdeep has picked up 40 wickets at an economy rate of 8.42 with one five-wicket haul to his name. Jammu and Kashmir's Umran has breathed fire, clocking 150 kmph consistently.
Also, a fully-fit Hardik Pandya makes his return back to the squad. The talented all-rounder enjoyed an excellent season with the bat, scoring 487 runs in 15 matches. His spell of 3/17 in the IPL final was a match-winning performance.
India's T20I squad: Rishabh Pant (Captain) (wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik
South Africa's squad: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs, Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen. (ANI)