Hardik Pandya is at the top of their game. He is batting with maturity he has never seen before, bowling and dominating crucial overs and maintaining leadership beyond what many expected him to do. The results followed. Gujarat Titans topped the league table and then defeated Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1 to secure their place in the final of the IPL 2022. Even on the field, Hardik’s fortunes have skyrocketed. The GT leader gave a hilarious answer when asked about his fitness and criticism of the show.
“People always talk, that’s their job. I can’t help it,” Pandya said in a virtual media briefing after the Titans defeated RR by seven wickets. “With the name of Hardik Pandya, the news sells more. I have no problem with it. I take it easy with a smiling face.”
Hardik has, more often than not, found himself the center of attraction and sometimes even for the wrong reasons but the all-rounder fights it out and finds a way to repel the claw.
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Released by Mumbai Indians, Hardik was selected as a draft pick in Gujarat. ₹15 crores before the IPL season.
Questions have arisen as to when he captained the first team, but Pandya has delivered on the bat, the ball or his ‘Captain Cool’ attitude as his mentor MS Dhoni.
“Obviously Mahi Bhai has played a big role in my life. He is a dear brother, dear friend and family to me,” Pandya said.
“… I learned a lot of good things from him. For me, it was more about being strong personally. It made me really proud of myself and how I can handle all the parts.” At number four, Pandya ranks fifth on the list of most prolific batters this season, with a 453-plus average of 453 and a healthy strike rate of 132.84.
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Pandya has come in handy with the ball, making crucial progress for his team. He has bowled 26.3 overs so far and has taken five wickets with a economy of 7.73.
“Prior to leadership, I always made sure to approach all situations as a Cool-Head. Generally, you make good decisions that way,” he said of the IPL’s success recipe.
“For me, in my life and on my cricket journey, it was important to give me a 10-second extra than to hurry.”
(With PTI inputs)