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File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
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Sunil Gavaskar Recommends For Changes In India’s Playing XI Against New Zealand

Sunil Gavaskar has recommended replacements for all-rounder Hardik Pandya and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Virat Kohli’s playing XI ahead of India’s upcoming T20 World Cup Super 12 fixture against New Zealand.

Team India faces New Zealand on Sunday and will be aiming to bag their first win of the campaign after having lost to Pakistan in their opening fixture.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar: If Hardik Pandya Can’t Bowl, He Should Be Replaced By In Form Ishan Kishan

The legendary cricketer feels that if Hardik Pandya can’t bowl then, he should be replaced by Mumbai Indians (MI) teammate Ishan Kishan.

Speaking on Sports Tak, Gavaskar stated, “If Hardik Pandya is not bowling – due to that shoulder injury he sustained in the match against Pakistan – Ishan Kishan has been in brilliant form so I will surely consider him ahead of Pandya”.

Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
The 23-year-old Ishan Kishan scored 84 off 32 balls and 50 not out off 25 balls at the top of the order in the final two games for Mumbai Indians, but it went in vain as the defending champions were knocked out of play-offs due to inferior net run-rate compared to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Against England in their first warm-up game, chasing a target of 189, India reached 192 for three in 19 overs. KL Rahul smashed 51 off 24 deliveries, and Ishan Kishan retired after playing a knock of 70 runs off 46 balls.

Sunil Gavaskar: Perhaps One Can think Of Shardul Thakur In Place Of Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Hardik Pandya didn’t bowl a single delivery against Pakistan but was recently seen bowling in the nets for India.

“And perhaps, you can think of Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But otherwise, if you make too many changes, then you will show the opposition that you have panicked,” he further added.

Sunil Gavaskar also feels that if Team India makes a lot of changes against New Zealand, it could have a negative impact on the outfit.

“If you make changes, it will show that the team has panicked. There is no need to panic, because they have a good team. Yes, you’ve lost a match to a good team but that doesn’t mean that going forward, India won’t win the match or win the tournament. If you win the next four matches, you can make it to the semi-final and from there, possibly even the final. So, there is no need to make too many changes”, he stated.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Sunil Gavaskar also suggested that Shardul Thakur should be slotted into the playing XI instead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer was in poor form against Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, conceding 25 runs in three overs.

He also failed to register a dismissal as Pakistan won by ten wickets. On the other hand, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a good outing against Australia (1/27) after a poor outing against England (0/54) in the two warm-up games.

Against Pakistan, Ravindra Jadeja (0/28 in 4 overs), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/25 in 3 overs), Mohammed Shami (0/43 in 3.5 overs), Varun Chakravarthy (0/33 in 4 overs), and Jasprit Bumrah (0/22 in 3 overs) tried their best but were unable to take any wickets and couldn’t prevent a Pakistan win. Pakistan reached the target of 152 in the penultimate delivery of the 18th over.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
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Sandeep Patil Hits Out At Selectors For Picking Hardik Pandya In The 2021 T20I World Cup Squad

Sandeep Patil, a former Indian cricketer, has hit out at the national selectors for picking Hardik Pandya in the T20 World Cup squad despite the latter being unsure of bowling in the tournament.

Hardik Pandya has been jostling with injury concerns for quite some time, due to which he has refrained from bowling. As a result, he came into the World Cup, having not bowled a single over for Mumbai Indians in the 2021 IPL.

Hardik Pandya Bowling(Photo Source: Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya Bowling(Photo Source: Getty Images)

Sandeep Patil: If Hardik Pandya Didn’t Bowl In IPL 2021, Selectors Should’ve Taken Call Asking For A Fitness Test

Footages of Hardik Pandya bowling on Wednesday in Dubai ahead of the 2nd game against the Kiwis did the rounds, but whether or not he bowls during match-time remains to be seen. Sandeep Patil said that the selectors should have conducted a fitness test before taking a call on Hardik Pandya’s selection in the national squad.

The team management is unlikely to play all-rounder Hardik Pandya as a pure batsman if he doesn’t get fit enough to bowl at least a couple of over every game in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. The team management is keeping a close eye on Shardul Thakur, who replaced Axar Patel in the main squad ahead of the tournament. Shardul Thakur is tipped to be Hardik Pandya’s replacement if the latter fails to make the cut.

“His selection in the XI is up to the captain and the coach, and only the BCCI will know about it. But basically, if a player is not fit, then it comes to the selectors. If he didn’t bowl in the entire IPL, the selectors should have taken a call,” Sandeep Patil said.

“They should have asked for a fitness test before including him in the team for the World Cup,” Sandeep Patil was quoted as saying.

Sandeep Patil
Sandeep Patil- IANS photo

“Someone has to be accountable. There’s no comment from (India coach) Ravi Shastri. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane said that he’s fit. How can you say he’s fit if he became unfit during the match? I mean, this is the World Cup, not just any series or match,” Sandeep Patil added.

A source said that the selectors wanted to send Hardik Pandya back home, but MS Dhoni, Team India’s mentor for the World Cup, believed in his finishing skills.

Dilip Vengsarkar: All The Decision Makers Would Have Assessed Situation Regarding Hardik Pandya

Former Indian skipper and selector Dilip Vengsarkar reckoned that “all the decision-makers in this case, the captain, coach, physio and the selectors, would have assessed the situation regarding Hardik Pandya.”

Dilip Vengsarkar file image | Sandeep Shetty / IPL/ SPORTZPICS
Dilip Vengsarkar file image | Sandeep Shetty / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

In their first match against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24, India looked short of the 6th bowling option. However, the Men in Green won the game by 10 wickets after Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam stitched together a 150 plus run stand. India’s second game of the Super 12s is against New Zealand on Sunday, October 31 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during both legs of IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues. Moreover, Hardik Pandya failed to hit a big knock in the first leg of IPL 2021. In 12 IPL 2021 matches, he scored 127 runs averaging a pathetic 14.11.
Having made his international debut in 2016, Hardik Pandya has gone on to play 11 Tests, 63 ODIs, and 50 T20Is for India. He has played 50 T20Is and has averaged below 20 with the bat despite a strike rate of 145, amassing 495 runs. He has also taken 42 scalps averaging 26.45. As a finisher in the 2021 T20I World Cup, he would certainly look forward to amending his batting average and bowling a few overs, trying to pick crucial wickets.
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
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Ishan Kishan Is A Dynamic Batsman And Rohit Sharma Takes A Few Balls To Get Going, Says Michael Atherton

Michael Atherton did not ignore the fact that the 23-year-old Ishan Kishan is indeed a dynamic batsman when he was asked if India can do with a youngster like Ishan Kishan in their XI.

During the post-match press conference following India versus Pakistan T20 World Cup match, captain Virat Kohli was asked by a reporter if Ishan Kishan could have played and opened the innings ahead of Rohit Sharma. The question left Virat Kohli puzzled as he gave the reporter a piece of his mind, saying, ‘if you want controversy, please let me know before so that I can answer accordingly’.

Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli
Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli (Reuters Photo)

Michael Atherton: Ishan Kishan Outscored KL Rahul, Who Was Faster Out Of The Blocks In The Powerplay In The Warm-Up Game Against England

Having said that, going by the form Ishan Kishan is in, it might be a tough call for India to leave him out of the XI. Ishan Kishan has scored three consecutive half-centuries in his last three T20 matches and seems to be in good nick. The discussion between former England batsmen Michael Atherton and Rob Key was mostly regarding the topic of the possibility of someone like Ishan Kishan coming into the mix of things.

Rob Key asked Michael Atherton if India can do with a youngster like Ishan Kishan in their XI, to which Michael Atherton said he finds it interesting as India is under constant pressure and in a selection dilemma whether to include the dashing young wicket-keeper batsman in XI in place of experienced veteran batsmen.

Michael Atherton Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Michael Atherton Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

“It was interesting to me. In India’s warm-up game against England, they rested Rohit. He obviously is a given. And they had Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul at the top of the order. I don’t know whether it was a shoot-off or not. Ishan outscored KL Rahul but what was interesting was that KL was faster out of the blocks in the Powerplay in that game. Ishan Kishan eventually got going and caught up,” Michael Atherton said.

The 23-year-old Ishan Kishan scored 84 off 32 balls and 50 not out off 25 balls at the top of the order in the final two games for Mumbai Indians, but it went in vain as the defending champions were knocked out of play-offs due to inferior net run-rate compared to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Against England in their first warm-up game, chasing a target of 189, India reached 192 for three in 19 overs. KL Rahul smashed 51 off 24 deliveries, and Ishan Kishan retired after playing a knock of 70 runs off 46 balls.

Michael Atherton: Rohit Sharma Sometimes Takes A Few Balls To Get Going

Having said that, the former England captain feels the opening combination of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma is ‘the right thing’, even if the India vice-captain can be slow to start off at times and added that it would be foolish to think that India’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup have gone up in smokes following one loss.

“But if you think of how Rohit plays… he sometimes takes a few balls to get going. I think they are doing the good thing by going with KL and Rohit at the top of the order. I think that is the right thing. And you can’t write off India after one bad game,” Michael Atherton added.

KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

In their second warm-up game, India thumped Australia by nine wickets with Rohit Sharma (60 retired off 40), KL Rahul (39 off 31), and Suryakumar Yadav (38), all getting some runs under their belts as India chased down Australia’s 152 for five in 17.5 overs.

Rohit Sharma blasted 60 off just 41 balls in the warm-up game against Australia to give India a blistering start. KL Rahul was impressive in the two warm-up games scoring a quickfire half-century against England followed by a solid 39 against Australia.

In Pakistan’s opening game against India, lanky paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start with the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul off his first seven deliveries. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya Has Ability To Make India-Pakistan Clash A One-Sided Affair, Says Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag also reckoned that Team India should pick five bowlers in the game against Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Co. However, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag said that Hardik Pandya has the ability to make India’s clash against Pakistan a “one-sided affair” if he gets going with the bat.

The veteran-backed dashing finisher, Hardik Pandya, to play the game on Sunday, October 24 in Dubai despite the latter still not sure of bowling.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

Virender Sehwag: Hardik Pandya Has The Ability To Make The India Pakistan Match One-Sided And Finish It

Hardik Pandya didn’t bowl a single over for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League 2021. Hence, there have been questions on whether or not he should be playing only as a pure batsman. But Virender Sehwag said that Hardik Pandya deserves a place in the team because of his power-hitting prowess with the bat.

“He’ll be on my team. The kind of batter he is, if he clicks, he’ll make the match one-sided, and finish it. He has the ability, which he has shown many times. Yes, if he was bowling fit, that would have been the icing on the cake,” Virender Sehwag was quoted as saying.

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

Virender Sehwag also reckoned that Team India should pick five bowlers in the game against Babar Azam and Co. The Nawab of Najafgarh admitted that Hardik Pandya hasn’t quite clicked with the bat in recent times, but he selected him as his “first pick”.

“You should go with five bowlers plus if Hardik Pandya or someone else from the top-order bowls a few overs, it’ll be the perfect team for me… His batting is surely a concern. If he’s not in form or not batting well in the nets, then you can maybe see another batter, otherwise, he’ll be my first pick,” Virender Sehwag stated.

Hardik Pandya has played 49 T20Is and has averaged below 20 with the bat despite a strike rate of 145, amassing 484 runs in 49 matches. He has also taken 42 scalps averaging 26.45. As a finisher in the 2021 T20I World Cup, he would certainly look forward to amending his batting average and bowling a few overs, trying to pick crucial wickets.

Hardik Pandya Did Well Last Time In India Pakistan 2019 World Cup Clash

The last time when India locked horns with Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup, Hardik Pandya showed his class. The right-hander smashed 26 off 19 and helped the Men in Blue post a mammoth score of 336 for five on the board. Back then, Hardik Pandya also rolled his arms over for eight overs and picked up the crucial wickets of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez
Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez Photo: AFP

He also played well in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy, though his efforts came in a losing cause. Hardik Pandya has refrained from bowling a lot in the last three years due to his tussle with frequent injuries.

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. Having made his international debut in 2016, Hardik Pandya has gone on to play 11 Tests, 63 ODIs, and 49 T20Is for India.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during both legs of IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues. Moreover, Hardik Pandya failed to hit a big knock in the first leg of IPL 2021.
In 12 IPL 2021 matches, he scored 127 runs averaging a pathetic 14.11. However, after missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya had made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178, unlike this season, where his strike rate was below 115.
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
KL Rahul And Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)
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KL Rahul Should Open Alongside Rohit Sharma In 2021 T20I World Cup: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has shared his wishlist about Team India ahead of the T20 World Cup warm-up game against England. It includes KL Rahul batting at the top of the order alongside Rohit Sharma.

The 15-member Indian squad has multiple opening spot options in Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Ishan Kishan. Skipper Virat Kohli had also expressed his wish to bat at the top of the order after India’s home series last match against England.

KL Rahul Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
KL Rahul Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Aakash Chopra:  Now That KL Rahul Is Firing And Running Better, He Should Open Alongside Rohit Sharma

While reflecting on India’s opening conundrum, in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that KL Rahul is in better touch than Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

“The first thing is the batting order, who is going to open? Last time when they played, Rohit and Kohli had opened, and both had hit a lot and the talk started to make them open because Rahul was not making runs at that time. But now Rahul is firing. He is not walking; he is running and running better than Rohit and Virat.”

KL Rahul
KL Rahul (Image Credit: Twitter)

While picking Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as his two openers, Aakash Chopra wants KL Rahul to be carefree and bat in a fearless approach.

“So, please get Rohit and Rahul to open. Virat Kohli at No.3, I want to see how Surya is batting. I want the carefree and fearless approach from Rahul. I want the big innings from Rohit because he is only showing the trailer, we haven’t seen the picture for a long time in white-ball cricket.”

KL Rahul brought his explosive side to the fore in the Punjab Kings’ last match of IPL 2021 against the Chennai Super Kings. Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma got off to starts but did not play substantial knocks in the UAE leg of the tournament.

KL Rahul scored 626 runs from 13 innings in IPL 2021 while opening the batting for Punjab Kings and his last innings against Chennai Super Kings was breathtaking. The Punjab skipper smashed an unbeaten 98 off 42 balls with seven fours and eight sixes that took his overall strike rate to 138.30 at the end of the tournament.

The 23-year-old Ishan Kishan scored 84 off 32 balls and 50 not out off 25 balls at the top of the order in the final two games for Mumbai Indians, but it went in vain as the defending champions were knocked out of play-offs due to inferior net run-rate compared to Kolkata Knight Riders.

Aakash Chopra: If Hardik Pandya Is Unable To Bowl, Batting Order Will Be Changed Entirely

While naming Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya as his finishers, Aakash Chopra highlighted the question marks about the latter’s ability to bowl, though.

“Virat Kohli should continue playing the way he is playing. He anyways plays very well in the World Cup. I will keep Rishabh Pant at No.5, Hardik Pandya at No.6, and that’s my big question – Hardik Pandya’s bowling.”

The 44-year-old commentator added that India’s balance will be compromised if all-rounder Hardik Pandya can’t roll his arm over.
Aakash Chopra pointed out: “If Hardik Pandya is bowling, we are all happy. You will have to change your batting order entirely if Hardik Pandya is not bowling. How will you do that, I am unable to understand.”
Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra concluded by saying that Team India will have a formidable look if Hardik Pandya is at his best both with bat and ball, which wasn’t on show in the recently concluded IPL 2021.

He reasoned: “Hardik Pandya at No.6 is only possible if you get him to bowl and he scores runs because he has not scored runs. If he is there at No.6 and Jaddu at No.7, you will have six bowling options and two rocket batsmen at No.6 and No.7.”

Team India will have their task cut out if Hardik Pandya can’t bowl. They would either have to bat Ravindra Jadeja at No.6 if they want an extra bowling option or hope that the five frontline bowlers would do the job.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Hardik Pandya Will Definitely Bowl 2 Overs In The Warm-Up Fixture Against England: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra has predicted that Hardik Pandya will be seen in action with the ball during Team India’s T20 World Cup warm-up encounter against England.

Hardik Pandya has been laid low by multiple injuries of late. He did not bowl a single over for the Mumbai Indians in the recently concluded IPL 2021, and there have been doubts expressed about his ability to bowl even in the T20 World Cup.

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

Aakash Chopra: Hardik Pandya Will Definitely Bowl At Least A Couple Of Overs In The Warm-Up Fixture Against England

While making his predictions for the India-England warm-up encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that Hardik Pandya would bowl at least a couple of overs.

He elaborated: “Hardik Pandya will definitely bowl two overs. He can bowl more than that as well but two for sure and it will soothe your and my heart if Hardik bowls because if he doesn’t bowl, the story will look very different.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former India cricketer also feels the bowlers will strike a few blows in the powerplay overs.

Aakash Chopra predicted: “In the powerplay overs, the two teams will lose three wickets. There is a high probability of three or more wickets falling, that’s what I feel.”

It will be interesting to see if Team India uses just their seamers or try Varun Chakravarthy as well with the new ball. They might also not want to reveal their plans before the main event begins.
Hardik Pandya has played 49 T20Is and has averaged below 20 with the bat despite a strike rate of 145, amassing 484 runs in 49 matches. He has also taken 42 scalps averaging 26.45. As a finisher in the 2021 T20I World Cup, he would certainly look forward to amending his batting average and bowl a few overs, trying to pick crucial wickets.

Aakash ChopExpects Trio Of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, And Rohit Sharma To Contribute In Warm-Up Fixture Against England

Aakash Chopra predicted that the trio of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Rohit Sharma will make a substantial contribution as Aakash Chopra expects Team India’s top order to be amongst the runs.

He said: “Kohli, Rahul and Rohit will together score more than 100 runs. I am expecting the Indian batting engine room to score a lot of runs.”

The reputed commentator concluded by stating that India will put it across England in tonight’s match in Dubai, but even if they lose, they shouldn’t be concerned much as it’s only a warm-up fixture.

Aakash Chopra observed: “I am saying India will win this match. Even if they don’t win, who cares. This is just a warm-up game.”

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma- Twitter

Apart from winning the encounter, India will hope to find answers to some of the open questions regarding their ideal team composition. While most of their issues will be resolved if Hardik Pandya can bowl at his best, the team management will also want to figure out their best bowling combination.

Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur replaced Axar Patel in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17. The selectors wanted a cover for him with pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
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Hardik Pandya Reflects On How He Was Selected In Mumbai Indians Franchise In IPL 2015

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.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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Hardik Pandya Opens Up On Being Bad Boy Of Indian Cricket After His Suspension In 2019 For Insensitive Remarks On A TV Show

Hardik Pandya, Team India all-rounder, has turned out to be one of the decade’s best finds as a finisher and a batsman with an aggressive instinct who can bowl and was even responsible for the Indian team ending their search for an elusive all-rounder. However, his cricket journey so far has not been all smooth, with a significant wobble coming in the form of a suspension by the BCCI in 2019.

The board suspended Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their insensitive remarks on a TV show. As a result, Hardik Pandya missed a large portion of India’s tour of Australia and New Zealand, and it made an impact off the field as well, with the public perceiving him in a different way. As a result, the all-rounder lost several endorsement deals as well.

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul in Talk Show (Source: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul in Talk Show (Source: Twitter)

Hardik Pandya Opens Up On Being Bad Boy Of Indian Cricket After Insensitive Remarks On A TV Show

Hardik Pandya revealed the testing times he endured after the suspension was lifted. He claimed he struggled particularly at the start of the 2019 IPL, despite coming into the tournament in solid form.

India allrounder Hardik Pandya faced tough times in his career in 2019, after his appearance on a talk show ‘Koffee with Karan’ led to a wide media outburst. Some of his remarks on the show went viral on social media, and brought negative reactions from the public, leading to the cricketer being suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), along with KL Rahul.

“When I heard I was going to get suspended, a lot of cricketers who knew me personally, who knew what kind of an individual I am, they went out and spoke about it, which is fine. They thought I was done. I heard lots of people saying, ‘Hardik’s done, he won’t be able to cope with this.’ Because I was the bad boy of Indian cricket at that time.”

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

Hardik Pandya set the tournament alight after overcoming the initial struggle. He went on to amass 402 runs at a strike rate of 191.42 at IPL 2019, averaging 44.66 with the bat. Apart from that, he contributed with the ball as well, with 14 wickets averaging 27.85 to his name as the Mumbai Indians clinched their 4th title.

Hardik Pandya Struggled After Coming Out Of Suspension In 2019

Hardik Pandya revealed how he struggled to concentrate after coming out of his suspension. Hardik Pandya said that he felt a lot of emotions because of how people were perceiving him as the ‘bad boy of Indian cricket’.

“At the Chinnaswamy [Bengaluru], while practising, I was missing the ball by this much (shows a wide gap). Because when this is not right (points to head) and when you question yourself, things just go wrong. That day I cried during training because there was a lot of emotion. Because of how I was portrayed [after the talk-show incident]. I was never that individual. I was not able to concentrate on my sport because there was a lot of expectation from myself, leave anyone else.”

Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)
Krunal Pandya. (Photo: Twitter)

He added that Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene and brother Krunal Pandya played important roles in helping him get his headspace right. Hardik Pandya will feature for Team India in the upcoming T20 World Cup, but his role is yet to be defined. His struggles with injury, which have severely hampered his ability to bowl, means that he will only be able to feature as a pure batsman.

Hardik Pandya has played 49 T20Is and has averaged below 20 despite a strike rate of 145, amassing 484 runs in 49 matches. He has also taken 42 scalps averaging 26.45. As a finisher in the 2021 T20I World Cup, he would certainly look forward to amending his batting average and bowl a few overs, trying to pick crucial wickets.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya Admits Responsibility Is On His Shoulders In MS Dhoni’s Absence

Hardik Pandya was all praise for MS Dhoni and stated there will be a big responsibility on his shoulders like a lead finisher of the team in absence of the former India captain in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

With the Indian team management assessing all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s back over the last week, it was decided that he will primarily be a finisher in the World Cup in UAE.

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

Hardik Pandya loves challenges thrown in his way:

Sources in the team management had said Hardik Pandya is still not 100 percent fit when it comes to bowling, but his experience when it comes to absorbing pressure and finishing games with the bat cannot be overlooked.

“The biggest so far, I will say, because this time I don’t have Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Everything is on my shoulders — I like to think that way because it gives me an added challenge. It is going to be exciting, a cracker of a tournament,” Hardik told ESPNcricinfo when asked about how big a responsibility it will be to be a lead finisher of the Indian team going into the T20 WC.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Hardik Pandya also threw light on how MS Dhoni was one of the people who helped him during the difficult time when the all-rounder was suspended by the BCCI for comments made on a TV talk show.

“MS was someone who understood me from the start: how I function, what kind of a person I am, what are the things I don’t like, everything. When I was picked for the New Zealand series [in January 2019, after the suspension was revoked], initially there were no hotel rooms [for Pandya in New Zealand]. “

“But then I get a call, saying, “You just come. MS has told us, ‘I don’t sleep on the bed [in any case]. He will sleep on my bed and I will sleep on the floor.'” He [Dhoni] was the first person who has been always there. He called me around the same time I had the conversation with Akash [Ambani].”

“He knows what kind of an individual I am. He knows me quite deep. I am very close to him. He is the only person who can make me calm. When all this happened, he knew that I needed support. I just needed a shoulder, which he provided multiple times in my cricketing career. I never saw him as MS Dhoni the greatest. For me, Mahi is my brother. I respect and admire the fact that he was there when I needed him the most,” he added.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list to the main squad at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya: MS Dhoni Is A Life Coach In Many Ways

The all-rounder also stated that MS Dhoni is a life coach for him.

“In a certain way, yes. We have lovely conversations. As I said, only Mahi can make me understand certain things. Sometimes if I get strong-headed and I go into that zone and I believe some things, I have to call him and say, This is on my mind. What do you think? Then he will explain. So, yes, in a lot of ways he is a life coach,” he said.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

“Staying with him, obviously, you learn to be mature, you learn to become humble. I have learned a lot by watching him. He never loses his cool.”

Notably, MS Dhoni is currently with Virat Kohli and boys as the mentor for the team in the World Cup in UAE. India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai. After the upcoming T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli will be stepping down as the side’s captain in the shortest format.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
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Hardik Pandya Part Of India’s Playing XI In 2021 T20I World Cup If He Bowls In Warm-Up Games: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir believes Hardik Pandya can only be a part of Team India’s playing XI at the forthcoming 2021 T20 World Cup if the all-rounder is at the top of his game as a bowler.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir: Hardik Pandya Gets Into India’s Playing XI If He Bowls In Warm-Up Games

Gautam Gambhir has highlighted that Hardik Pandya needs to prove his bowling fitness in the two warmup encounters against England and Australia to make Team India’s starting XI. He made the following observations while previewing the upcoming T20 World Cup during a discussion on the Star Sports show – Game Plan.

The former Indian opener said: “For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets. There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup.”

Hardik Pandya Bowling (Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya Bowling (Getty Images)

The former India opener added that Hardik Pandya should not just be rolling his arm over but needs to be bowling at his best.

Gautam Gambhir said: “He has to bowl in the practice matches and the nets, and he has to bowl 100 percent. If you are thinking that you will come and bowl just at 115-120 kph, I will not take that risk.”

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during both legs of IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues. Moreover, Hardik Pandya-the younger Pandya brother, largely failed to hit a big knock in the first leg of IPL 2021.
In 12 IPL 2021 matches so far, he scored 127 runs averaging a pathetic 14.11. However, after missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178, unlike this season, where his strike rate was below 115.

Gautam Gambhir Would Opt To Play Ishan Kishan Ahead Of Hardik Pandya On Current Form

Gautam Gambhir added that he would opt to play Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya if the latter is playing only as a specialist batsman. Ishan Kishan was the top run-getter for Mumbai Indians in the 2020 season, scoring 516 runs at an average of 57.33, and later went on to make his International T20 debut, where he scored a fearless fifty.

He amassed 241 runs in 10 IPL 2021 games averaging 26.77. After a slow start, he scored two fifties in the last 2 games. He scored an unbeaten 50 against Rajasthan and followed it up with 84 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Gautam Gambhir reasoned: “If I have to go with just five bowlers, then I will pick Ishan Kishan ahead of Hardik Pandya on current form. If you are going with five proper bowlers and six batsmen, Hardik’s form is probably a massive concern. Forget about the bowling, with the bat as well.”

Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)

Hardik Pandya had a dismal IPL 2021 with the bat for the Mumbai Indians. The big-hitter scored just 127 runs in the tournament at an underwhelming average of 14.11, along with a below-par strike rate of 113.39.

In T20Is, Hardik Pandya bowled 2 overs against Sri Lanka and picked up a wicket in July 2021. He also bowled 17 overs against England in 5 games in March 2021 and picked up 3 wickets.