India’s T20I captain Hardik Pandya has confirmed that Shubman Gill will play the first game of a three-match series against New Zealand on Friday, January 27.

The 23-year-old recently scored 360 runs in three ODIs against the Black Caps. He also became the youngest player to hit a double hundred in the 50-over format.

Gill has amassed 567 runs in six ODIs this year at an average of 113.40. Gill also made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in Mumbai but managed 58 runs in three matches.

Hardik guaranteed the Punjab player a place in the Playing XI.

“Shubman Gill has done exceptionally well so there is no talk about the opportunity. He will start because of his performances and was there in the team for Sri Lanka T20Is,” he said.

The Men in Blue won the ODI series by a margin of 3-0 but Hardik said that India will have to play well to beat the rivals in the slam-bang version.

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