File photo of Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya received plenty of criticism after Team India’s early exit from the T20 World Cup last year. Many fans and experts felt that the all-rounder wasn’t fully fit which prevented him from bowling in the opener against Pakistan. The 28-year-old has been suffering from a back injury for quite some time which saw him play as a batter for most part of 2021. He also played solely as a batter for Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2021 but did bowl for India in two T20 World Cup matches, against Afghanistan and New Zealand. Speaking to cricket historian Boria Majumdar, Hardik revealed that he “wasn’t supposed to bowl” and “was selected in the team as a batter”.
India failed to go past the Super League stage after finishing third in their group behind Pakistan and New Zealand. “I was kind of getting the sense or vibe that a lot of things came on me right. Obviously that is fine but which is fine, I play the sport, I get that. But the position which we were in and when I went I felt everything was kept on me, everything was thrown at me”, he said.
“I didn’t bowl but I was selected in the team as a batter. I worked hard to bowl in the first game which obviously I wasn’t able to. I got hit in the first game and in the second game when I bowled, I wasn’t supposed to bowl. I pushed for my team but eventually setbacks as you said things happened.”
Against Afghanistan and New Zealand, he conceded 40 runs and failed to register any wickets.
With the 2022 T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia in October and November, Pandya will be aiming to put in a good display for new franchise Ahmedabad, for whom he is also captain. But he also revealed that he doesn’t want to “rush anything” to make sure that he is at his “peak when the World Cup comes”.
“The reason I don’t want to rush as well because as you mentioned the World Cup is coming. I genuinely don’t want to rush anything and make sure that I’m at my peak when the World Cup comes because for me, yes I have said, multiple times I will always say winning the World Cup will be the most important thing of my life”, he said.
“My plan, preparation is all for the World Cup. It’s all for the Indian team”, he further added.
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