Bowler Hardik Pandya has had his fair share of injuries in the last couple of years. The flamboyant Baroda all-rounder did not bowl regularly due to fitness issues, which cost him his place in the Indian set-up. But the Indian player made a spectacular comeback through the Indian Premier League (IPL). His decision-making and field-setting in the T20 league also led to his appointment as India’s captain for the two-match series in Ireland. Also Read | ‘Why is he in WI T20 series? I am confused. My two spinners…’: Srikanth questions Ashwin controversy in T20WC squad
At present, Hardik, who loves his tattoos and swanky lifestyle, enjoys the role of an additional bowling option with brilliant performances in England as well. The 28-year-old registered career-best figures of 4/33 and 4/24 in the T20 and ODI series. His ability to bowl regularly can give him plenty of satisfaction at the highest level, but it remains to be seen if Hardik can emulate the feats of his ‘hero’ Jacques Kallis.
Hardik had earlier said that he wants to do everything for India like Kalis did for South Africa. Brimming with confidence, Hardik now aspires to be India’s Hardik Pandya, leading veteran journalist Vimal Kumar to ask – ‘Kya ab op India ka Hardik Pandya bun gaye hai?’ (Are you Hardik Pandya from India?)
“Ap bate sakte hai sir, muze toh nahi pata. Mera toh naam hai hardik pandya hai… toh banne ki zaroorat nahi hai hardik. (You can say that, sir. I don’t know. My name is already Hardik, so I don’t need to become one),” Hardik commented in a video shared on Vimal Kumar’s YouTube channel.
“I will try to give my best. If someone can’t do what I am doing now, I can be India’s all-rounder,” he said.
Here is the video:
“Big things start only with a dream. It was a dream. Yes, it is coming true. I want to be like Jacques Kallis. What he did for the Proteas with batting and bowling. I want to do the same for India,” Hardik said. Said during his formative years in world cricket.
Hardik, whose ability with the bat has never been doubted, has been playing a pivotal role in the West Indies. He scored 31 runs to resurrect India’s innings in the second Twenty20 but scored just 4 runs in the third.
Hardik’s exit led to the arrival of Deepak Hooda, who along with Rishabh Pant led India across the finish line on Tuesday. While Hooda scored 10 runs not out, Pant scored an unbeaten 33 runs.
Reinvigorating the all-rounder in him, Hardik also mentioned the freedom given to captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid. “Roe gives you a lot of flexibility and freedom, which has been his strength throughout his captaincy whenever I’ve played with him,” he said after India’s win on Tuesday.
“A lot of credit goes to him and Rahul Dravid for the way they put the team together and bring a lot of positive attitude and make sure the players are safe.”
Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav’s 44-ball 76 put India firmly in control of the 20-over match in St. Kitts. The right-handed batsman hit four sixes and eight fours as India’s victory target fell to 30 runs from 33 balls with eight wickets in hand.
With India 165-3 with six balls to spare, West Indies were 164-5 in reply. India has taken a 2-1 lead in the series with two matches remaining.