IND vs AUS, 1st ODI: Why Did Hardik Pandya Gift A Plant To Steve Smith At The Toss?

After India’s 2-1 win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the two teams will now compete in a three-match ODI series starting on March 17. The series opener is already underway at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Regular captain Rohit Sharma is not playing this fixture at his home ground due to family commitments and in his absence Hardik Pandya is leading the Men in Blue for the first time in One Day Internationals (ODIs).

However, an interesting thing caught the attention of the fans at the toss before the start of play. The Indian team’s stand-in skipper Hardik was seen gifting a plant to Australia captain Steve Smith. The video of the same was even shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on their social media.

Take a look:

Notably, the gesture was part of BCCI’s initiative towards helping heal and restore the environment. Hardik later went on to win the toss and opted to bowl first.

Much like India had a different captain at the toss, Australia too have Smith stepping in for Pat Cummins who is mourning the death of his mother. Cummins had flown back home to be with his ailing mother and has remained there after his mother breathed her last earlier this month.

In his absence, Smith his leading the Kangaroos for the first time in the ODIs in five years.

Talking about the match, India will go ahead with the opening pair of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill with no Rohit in the Playing XI. Eyes will be on the form of KL Rahul who hasn’t played in T20Is and lost his place in the Test side but would want to play the role of finisher assigned to him to perfection.

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