Since his return to cricket after a self-imposed detox to regain his bowling fitness, he has led a new team (Gujarat Titans) to win IPL titles and contributed with several All-round important performance for India.
In fact, two of his most important shows this year are against arch-rivals. Pakistan where he excelled in both parts of the game.
“There was a time when I didn’t know what was going to happen next with Hardik. So I had to get very involved in my thought process and then ask myself ‘What do you want out of life?’ ” Pandya Call yourself in the third person when answering questions from PTI in the mixed area.
So what was the biggest lesson for him during his time inactive?
“I got rid of the fear of failure and I don’t mind what will happen and what the outcome will be, what people will say but I respect everyone’s opinion,” he said.
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If one had closely followed Pandya between 2018-19 and now 2022, there would be a stark difference in attitude. His life changed completely in a short time. He became a father and also lost his father who was like a friend to him.
Perhaps, it made him more approachable and a little more intimate. He asked the scribes if they would mind if he sat on the floor even though it was standard in the compound to stand in a designated area.
Then, when the ICC representative wanted him to hurry, he replied in his booming baritone: “Aarrey inke 4 questions”. Abhi sirf ak huwa hai baki 3 puchne toh doh (let the press ask their questions). ”
When asked if he liked his current version, Hardik smiled.
“Yes, I can say that. I said Rahul Sir as well as 10 months ago, when I first entered the land, I was very happy, smiling and excited. Sir Rahul must have thought that I was too excited about the match.
“I just told him, this is what I want to do until I play sports. Enjoy, sport and give as much as you can and to a certain level of standard that I expect myself to be. I will compete.”
For him, the past seven months have been the best time of his life.
“Like you said about the last six to seven months but I would count the time away from the game and where I was getting ready as one of the best moments of my life. It taught me a lot and take me on a road like I would never have imagined.”
“And that’s when I realized that it’s time for you to be what you want to be – to play at the highest level, to be able to give every game, whatever the outcome, to be there, to give it a chance. for yourself. to contribute as much as possible,” he explained.
As for Pandya, he wants to count his blessings looking at where he has been and where he has reached now.
“I don’t think I want to change anything in my life and this will be the best six months. I could have had better days but the journey has happened and from where I came to and where I’ve been. , so grateful to my family and everyone who helped me.”
It’s more like a score of 40 has an impact in a high stakes game
For Pandya, the amount of running is not as important as the impact his score has.
“For me, these (vs Pakistan) are matches that make heroes. I don’t want to perform in a deadly rubber zone where the whole team is flying and I come in and break 80 runs. I like to score those 40s and 50s. where my team needs me more. Maybe 40 40’s but that’s fine,” he explained.
India won a final short ball of the match but if the results go the other way, the Baroda man will still be happy.
“Even with only three balls left, I told the boys that it’s okay if we lose. I’m just proud of how we fought in this game. We are a set. have worked hard both individually and collectively.
“Even if we lost the game, I would still put a smile on my face and say to myself, ‘You know, they played well that day but we tried everything. ”
Down the line, Pandya has “accepted the fact” that the sport will bring many ups and downs.
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Diving into the game is key
For Pandya, it was never the case that their chances of winning were reduced when they dropped to 31 to 4.
“Partnerships need to be built and for me and Virat chance to go deep, we’re 4/31 and we don’t have a lot of options to play big shots. ”
The other reason is that the undisciplined choice to shoot at the start could have spelled doom and therefore they don’t take any risks.
“If you don’t try to hold on and instead play big shot to get out, you never know what’s likely to happen if you get stuck around and can play free cricket and take the game. deep fight.
“Our minds were very clear. So when we needed 50 odd in 3 passes, not once did we think the goal was unattainable. We had faith.”