Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY

Hardik Pandya, an Indian all-rounder, has opened up on how he was picked by his current Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians (MI).

Hardik Pandya revealed that he was spotted by the MI scout team, which included John Wright, during the 2013-14 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. Hardik Pandya scored 82, not out in a match in the presence of Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya © AFP

Hardik Pandya Reflected On How He Was Selected In Mumbai Indians Franchise

The 28-year-old all-rounder made his Mumbai Indians debut in the 2015 IPL season, smashing 112 runs at a strike rate of 180.64. He made his India debut soon after in 2016, and the rest is history. Hardik Pandya reflected on how he got his big break in the game.

The Baroda all-rounder recalled: “In the 2013-14 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, Zak [Zaheer Khan] was playing for Mumbai against Baroda, along with others like Surya [Suryakumar Yadav], PT [Pravin Tambe], Aditya Tare, Dhawal Kulkarni, who were in the eyes of franchises. “

” Kiran sir [More] had spoken to John Wright about us two brothers. John was always there for all the games as he was a scout. Akash [Ambani, Mumbai Indians’ owner] came with Rahul Sanghvi [Mumbai Indians’ manager] and one more MI person.”

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya[photo: Twitter]

Hardik Pandya admitted that he had some luck factor going his way as he performed on the day that mattered.

He elaborated: “There’s a saying [if a peacock dances in a forest, did one anyone see it?] With me, that’s not been the case – whenever I have danced, someone has watched. I scored 82 not out.”

The hard-hitting batsman, who is a part of Team India’s 2021 T20I World Cup campaign, admitted that former India coach John Wright played a big role in him being chosen for MI.
Speaking about the New Zealander, Hardik said: “Yeah, John played a very, very big part because he actually showed the owners that this guy is there. I don’t get to speak to John a lot but the last time I met him, I thanked him again. I appreciate people who have stood by me and I don’t forget them – at the end of the day if you have helped with Rs 5 or if you have helped with your time, Hardik and Krunal never forget that.”
Following his impressive debut, Hardik Pandya went on to become an integral part of MI. He has played 92 matches for the franchise and has scored 1476 runs averaging 27.33 at a strike rate of 153.91. On the bowling front, he has claimed 42 scalps averaging 31.26 at a strike rate of 20.69.

Hardik Pandya Lives A Lavish Lifestyle Currently, But He Had Very Humble Beginnings

While Hardik Pandya lives a lavish lifestyle these days, it is a known fact that he had very humble beginnings.

Asked to share some insights on his life growing up in Baroda, he recalled: “When we came to Baroda, our house would have been about 50 square feet, and four of us lived there. I am not exaggerating. We still have that house – one bedroom-kitchen. The kitchen would be the size of a small washroom.

“People keep asking us brothers how did we brothers grow tall so fast. We did not have a lot of space, but we had a monkey bar in the house and I used to hang upside down on it, do all sort of things.”

Hardik Pandya | Getty
Hardik Pandya | Getty

Hardik Pandya was quick to add how his life has changed. The all-rounder married ModelActress Natasha Stankovic on 1st June 2020 after getting engaged on 1st January 2020 in Dubai. The couple has a son, Agastya, born on 30 July 2020.

He pointed out: “Now we have a home theatre. I have a gym inside my house, because I am very private and don’t step out much anymore. I have created a shoot room. Natasa [Stankovic, Hardik’s wife] loves to dance, so we have a dancing space.”

Having made his international debut in 2016, Hardik Pandya has gone on to play 11 Tests, 63 ODIs, and 49 T20Is for India. He first caught the eye with an unbeaten 31-ball 61 for Mumbai Indians against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2015 but displayed greater consistency in the Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic T20 tournament in January 2016.

He finished as the leading run-getter, for Baroda, with 377 runs in 10 innings at an average of 53.85. Hardik Pandya also took 10 wickets and was instrumental in Baroda making the final.

He was subsequently called up for India’s limited-overs tour to Australia. Before impressing with the ball on the seamer-friendly pitches in Bangladesh at the Asia Cup, he made his international debut. Later, he sealed his spot in India’s 2016 World T20 squad.