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HomeCricBlogWhy India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder

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Last Updated on 4 years by Charbel Coorey

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder | Hardik Pandya to begin training ahead of big 2020 | A look at the story of Hardik Pandya

Fame, success, controversies, and injuries.

Just four years into his international career, this 26 year old from Baroda has seen it all happening in a short span of time. Hardik Pandya is one of those talents, similar to Jasprit Bumrah, who started to gain attention with impressive performances in the Indian Premier League.

India’s Search

Since India decided to move past Irfan Pathan, they were in desperate search of a fast bowling all-rounder. Hardik was showing glimpses of his raw talent with clean hitting, along with sending in balls at 140km/h. So, inevitably, he began to catch the eyes of the national selectors.

Before that, despite the significant talent pool in India, they struggled to find a fast bowling all-rounder of the Hardik-type. Stuart Binny had his chances, but apart from his 6/4 against a broken Bangladesh side in 2014, he never really impressed. So, ahead of the T20 World Cup in 2016, Hardik Pandya got his chance in Australia where he showed glimpses of his talent with his bowling, and slowly started to earn the trust of then captain MS Dhoni.

Image result for hardik pandya debut series australia"
Hardik Pandya showed glimpses of his talent in his debut series against Australia.

Leap of Faith in 2016

What was to come was a major leap of faith by his skipper. In one of the most incredible matches of the last decade, India had 11 runs to defend in the last over in that match against Bangladesh. MS Dhoni gave the ball to young Hardik Pandya looking to make a mark. It was a massive call as India was facing elimination in the group stages in front of their home fans if they lost.

Hardik was all over the place conceding nine off the first three balls. Mushfiqur celebrated. India looked gone. Hardik had an uphill task of defending two off the last three balls with two set batsman batting.

But, Hardik Pandya went on to hold his nerve, and India defeated Bangladesh to enter the Quarter Finals. That day, the world took notice of Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder.

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder | Hardik Pandya to begin training ahead of big 2020 | A look at the story of Hardik Pandya
Hardik held his nerve in the crucial game vs Bangladesh.

Further Strong Moments

Hardik Pandya was then seen as a superstar. He has been a regular with the blue since then, going on to play some important knocks, particularly in the role of finisher. As MS Dhoni started to getting accustomed to much more of an anchor role, Hardik became more and more important to the side.

Hardik’s batting has been the most improved feature of his game since his debut. The balance and solid base he maintains when he hits those monstrous sixes is highly impressive. The first glimpses of this came in the Champions Trophy of 2017 where Kohli used him brilliantly, sometimes sending him ahead of MS Dhoni, who is considered one of the World’s greatest finishers.

This injection of belief showed how highly the Team Management thought of him. His biggest contribution that tournament came in the Final when he came in to bat when India lost half their side for 54 chasing a mammoth 338 set by Pakistan. Hardik decided to fight fire with fire and started to counter attack in a very difficult situation, going on to score 76 of just 43 balls with six sixes.

He treated the Oval crowd to some very clean hitting. In the end, Hardik was run-out, and his partner Ravindra Jadeja faced a lot of criticism for not sacrificing his wicket for the in-form Pandya. Hardik might not have won the game for India that day, but he sure did miss out on a very special hundred.

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder | Hardik Pandya to begin training ahead of big 2020 | A look at the story of Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya distraught after his runout in the Champions Trophy finals 2017

Hardik’s Foray into Test Cricket

Hardik later went onto make his Test debut against Sri Lanka, and had a fabulous start to his Test career. He soon made a mark against South Africa in Cape Town, scoring a quickfire 95 against a bowling attack that had the likes of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel. Then, Hardik went onto get a five-for at Nottingham India’s single win during their tour of England in 2018.

In the eyes of millions, the quality of this special cricketer just kept growing, and slowly started to earn comparisons to the legendary Kapil Dev.

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder | Hardik Pandya to begin training ahead of big 2020 | A look at the story of Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya celebrates his five wicket haul.

However, Hardik’s career has not been the same since then. It was in the Asia Cup late in 2018 where he suffered a scary back injury which forced him out of a very important Australian tour.

Also, to add to salt to the wound, it was during this time Hardik gave an interview in a popular Indian chat show ‘Koffee with Karan’ and faced criticism for vulgar comments. All of a sudden, Hardik Pandya didn’t find life so easy and was awaiting the decision to be taken by BCCI officials regarding the suspension. He was suspended, along with KL Rahul, and needed to strive extra hard to come back into the Indian side. He regards it as the darkest phase of his short career.

Soon after his suspension ended, he was back where he belongs. Hardik Pandya went on to have a fabulous IPL 2019 season, instrumental in Mumbai’s record-breaking fourth IPL victory.

However, he made his intentions clear that lifting the World Cup is his primary objective. Unfortunately, though, he didn’t have the greatest of World Cups, failing when his team needed him most in the Semi Final against New Zealand. It was very poor shot selection that cost him; something you wouldn’t associate with an experienced international cricketer.

It was disappointing to see Hardik not live up to the expectations considering the amount of talent the man carries. 

Why India should expect more from Hardik Pandya: The All-Rounder | Hardik Pandya to begin training ahead of big 2020 | A look at the story of Hardik Pandya
“From lifting 100 kgs I was not able to lift my legs” – Hardik in a recent interview about his back surgery

Hardik Pandya has recently undergone back surgery, something he feels was one of the toughest challenges of his life. He had people telling him it would be hard to get back playing, which had him more worried as he struggled to walk in the initial days post surgery. He is on his road to recovery and is almost ready to make his comeback in the latter stages of the New Zealand tour.

Also, he was recently engaged in Dubai, and India fans can hope this can bring lady luck into his life.

The next few months might be a very important phase of Hardik’s career. India bank heavily on him for the balance he provides to this outfit. He would be looking to make a statement and make noteworthy performances to do justice to his immense talent.

Indeed, it’s not every day that India are blessed with talented fast bowling all-rounders. Hardik, in a huge 2020, could be a key man for India in the World T20, which could transform Hardik from a talent to an established international cricketer.

This 26 year old has the ingredients to have a long career ahead of him. All of India will be hoping Hardik’s mind and body remain in good stead, as he can hold a key to India’s fortunes across formats.

Written by Prashanth Satish

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