Hardik Pandya has risen through the ranks in Indian cricket in the past one year. He has made a prominent place in India’s limited-overs squad and also grabbed the opportunity big time when he played in the longest format of the game against Sri Lanka where he ended up being the Man of the Series.
But there was a phase in his career in 2016 when, due to a poor form in the IPL while playing for Mumbai Indians, he was dropped from the side. Consequently, he was omitted from the national side that toured Zimbabwe. The all-rounder revealed it was that phase that inspired him to work hard and make a comeback.
“You can say that. When I was dropped from the team — I mean I only missed one series, against Zimbabwe — I had time to work really hard. I got the time and I thought I could work hard on a few aspects of my game and slowly things started changing,” said Hardik Pandya in his interview with Sportstarlive.
The 24-year-old is known for his big hitting. He is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball in the cricketing fraternity currently. The right-hander has taken several spinners to the cleaners in the recent times and he mentioned that he always liked striking big.
“I used to try hitting sixes since my U-16 days. I used to also get out while trying, but most of the times, I would clear the 30-yard circle and get boundaries if not sixes. I always used to like playing the big shots. I practised a lot. I always used to practise long-hitting — range hitting, as they say — and I used to enjoy it,” he added.
Watched Pathan Brothers play
In his early days, Hardik used to watch the brothers Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan play together for Baroda. He revealed that although he didn’t idolize any cricketer yet watching the Pathan brothers gave him and his brother Krunal goals who ended up playing together for Mumbai Indians.
“Not really, but growing up in Vadodara, we had Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan playing together. I mean we used to think it’s so cool playing together and soon we also played together. We didn’t really aspire to play together, we were just enjoying our own cricket and trying to improve at it. We didn’t really want to copy any of the cricketers as such,” concluded Pandya.