Hardik Pandya is a fearless striker of the ball: Mitchell McClenaghan

Mitchell McClenaghan has not given up hopes on donning that black cap again.

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New Zealand’s pace attack is being spearheaded by Tim Southee and Trent Boult at present. The list would have included Mitchell McClenaghan as well had he not given up the national contract for participating in T20 leagues. However, McClenaghan has no regrets about it. He has not given up hopes on donning that black cap again. McClenaghan has made himself available for the national side whenever he is not part of a T20 league. At the moment, McClenaghan is in Mumbai and has invested his time for behindtheseams.tv. The channel was co-founded by Scott Styris and Mike Loftus.

McClenaghan interviewed several of his Mumbai Indians (MI) teammates. He started with some Hindi lessons from his MI skipper Rohit Sharma. He also interviewed Hardik Pandya, a man that he considers a fearless striker of the ball. In a chat with DNA, McClenaghan spoke about Pandya, his own national contract and the ongoing India-New Zealand series. Here are some excerpts:

On Hardik Pandya: He is just confident in what skills he has and is a fearless striker of the ball. His bowling has come on as well and a good opening bowling option if the match up is right with his skiddy out-swings.

On national contracts and T20 leagues: I stand by my decision. I’m still available for NZC when I’m not playing T20 tournaments, like now as the SA tournament has fallen over. The only regret is stepping away from the financial security of a NZC contract. The positive is that I have control of my own career. If I’m not picked when available and am performing, then I will definitely miss playing for New Zealand.

On the ongoing India-New Zealand series: I think the side looks considerably more balanced. It will take some time for (Colin) Munro to get the confidence at the top. However, he is class and hope he gets an extended run. He’s a far better batsman than we saw in Game 1 [in Mumbai] and I’m sure we will see that soon. [Tom] Latham at No. 5 adds stability and poise to the middle order with a player who times the ball well and accumulates with easy with the field out. [Trent] Boulty is looking sharp and Mitch Santner has started well and will be the key in the fixtures to come.

India’s biggest hurdles: Boult and Santner are the key. Boult will be key to making inroads at the top and Santner to do the damage in the middle to stop the amazing finishing ability of [MS] Dhoni and Pandya.

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