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Deepak Hooda’s maiden T20 hundred wows legendary India all-rounder Irfan Pathan

Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, India, Ireland, Irfan Pathan,

The Indian T20 team has recently wrapped the two-match T20 series against Ireland under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya. India won the 2nd T20 match in Dublin, Ireland, by just 4 runs, despite setting up a target of 225 for the non-Test-playing side. The one player who stood out during the series and made a solid claim for a berth in the final 15 was Deepak Hooda.

The 27-year-old all-rounder scored his maiden T20I hundred on Tuesday against Ireland and seems to be in the form of his life of late. Playing at No.3, Deepak Hooda forged a record partnership with Sanju Samson, scoring 176 runs off 87 balls for the 2nd wicket. The highly talented Rajasthan cricketer finished the innings with 104 runs off 57 deliveries.

His swashbuckling performance is drawing attention and praises from fans and ex-cricketers alike. Among the growing admirers, former India allrounder Irfan Pathan is one of them.

Irfan Pathan tweeted moments after Hooda reached the milestone and revealed that he had personally asked the batter to hit a ton for Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the IPL.

“During the IPL, Spoke to @HoodaOnFire abt getting 100 but even better for him to get the century for Team India! So so proud of this boy,” Irfan Pathan tweeted.

Deepak Hooda had an exceptional IPL tournament and put himself in the scheme of things for the Indian T20 side. His recent performances, form, and all-around abilities have become an added advantage for Team India ahead of the T20 World Cup slated in the months of October-November this year.

Deepak Hooda had never opened before the tour of Ireland. He partnered with Ishan Kishan in the rain-curtailed first T20I and scored 29-ball 47 in India’s win, chasing a total of 104. In the second T20I, Deepak Hooda played first-down, highlighting his batting abilities.

The 27-year-old has also become the fourth Indian batter to hit a ton in T20Is after Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Suresh Raina and the third batter to do it overseas. He also bagged the Player of the Match and Player of Series and said, “I am coming from a good IPL, I was trying to follow up the same performance here as well. I like playing aggressively. Batting up the order, I have the time, I try to play according to the situation.”

“I had goosebumps scoring the hundred and winning at the same time. But I admit I did become a bit nervous but things turned out well,” Deepak Hooda told Sanju Samson in a video after the match. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) shared the video on social media.

“Sanju is my childhood friend, always good to bat with him. To be honest, I was coming from a good IPL and wanted to follow the same performance. Happy with my intent. I like playing in that manner (aggressive) and these days I am batting up the order so getting some time,” he elaborated.

Deepak Hooda also credited Hardik Pandya’s captaincy for his scintillating performance in the series after finishing with more than 150 runs in the two matches in Malahide.

“Obviously, Hardik is leading very well. He led a new franchise in the IPL and they won the title. I’m really happy for him and the way he’s taking responsibility. I’m really proud of him, he’s doing very well.”

Meanwhile, former England spinner Graeme Swann backed Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson to replace Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the Indian T20 line-up after the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

“They are knocking on the door and some would argue that there will that will be definitely up for grabs sooner rather than later. You got couple of huge names that will come back into the reckoning for the World Cup – Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. But after the World Cup I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two spaces really open up and there is no better way to stand up and scream ‘I want that spot’ than they batted tonight,” Graeme Swann said.

“Yes it is a small ground and the total can be taken with a little bit of a pinch of salt. But these shots that Hooda and Samson were playing, no matter how small the ground was, they were flying miles. They are world-class players,” he added.

Remarkably, Deepak Hooda became just the fourth India batter after Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Suresh Raina to score a century in T20Is. He is also the third India batter after Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to make a hundred on overseas soil. Deepak Hooda now also has the highest score by an Indian player against Ireland.