Big hit Deepak Hooda believes he is “a warrior” when faced with the task of tackling the new ball in conditions favorable to bowlers. Because, according to him, there is no other option than to face the challenges if you are at the top of the ranking. Riding with his powerful striking abilities, Hooda took the limelight on Tuesday with a 57-ball 104 in India’s second T20 International against Ireland. With a strike at number three, Hooda became only the fourth Indian batter to score a century in the shortest format.
“I’ve never started in an international match, but as a top batsman you have to face the challenges and you have no other choice.
“And if you don’t have a choice, why don’t you go there as a warrior. That’s what I think, and things have turned my way. I’m happy about that,” Hooda said after the match.
With young talents bursting at the seams, the 27-year-old all-rounder admitted that getting and keeping a place in the Indian team isn’t easy.
“To be honest, yes, it’s hard to find a place in the Indian team and stay there. But at the same time, when you play in the colors of India, you never think about yourself, but about the team. “
“That’s what I think about on the field: ‘How can I contribute to the team in that situation’. I think no more than that, try to keep it simple. Yes, it’s a matter of pride for me that I play for India whether I score or not,” said Hooda.
Coming in after the sacking of opener Ishan Kishan in the third over, Hooda broke nine boundaries and six sixes to score his first T20I century.
“To be honest, the Irish team played very well against us and we enjoyed playing against them.
“Between the first and second game I think there was a difference in the field. In the first game the conditions were cloudy and the wicket was damp. But today the wicket was very good for hitting, as is clear teams hit. So I felt the wicket was a big factor.” Hooda also revealed that a change in mindset recently helped him perform better.
“As a cricketer I’ve learned lately not to think too far ahead. How many series ever, look at it game by game. If my work ethic is good I’m in a good space of mind and I’m going to score, that’s my thought.
“Try to keep it simple, live in the present, play the situation right, and then the outcome will automatically come. Now or later it will come,” Hooda said.
Hooda also praised Hardik Pandya, who led the team in the two-game series.
“Obviously Haridk is leading very well. He led a new franchise in the IPL and they won the title. I’m very happy for him and the way he takes responsibility. I’m really proud of him, he does it very well.”
Over the course of the Indian innings, Hooda was part of a record-breaking second-wicket partnership of 176 runs with Sanju Samson, who scored a career-best 77 on his return to the team.
It is the highest partnership of an India pair for any wicket in the format, surpassing the previous best of 165 by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in 2017 against Sri Lanka in Indore.
“To be honest, I came out of a good IPL and wanted to follow the same performance. Happy with my intention. I like to play that way (aggressive) and these days I’m improving the order so I can get some time.
“Sanju is my childhood friend, always good to hang out with. Thank you to the fans, the way they came and supported us,” Hooda said.