What’s the one line said by his brother Krunal that Hardik Pandya will carry with him all his life? “In the word impossible there is the word I-M-Possible.” Pandya recalled how those words spoken by his brother would remain with him till his last breath. Pandya would recall this after walking back from the mixed zone, post India’s sensational four wicket win over Pakistan.
Pandya’s contribution to the win was immense, though his role took a backstage after Virat Kohli’s heroics. Had he not been there, things would have been different. He was pushing Kohli to keep at it and giving hope to the man, who was carrying a billion people’s hopes.
His own 40 runs and three wickets went unnoticed in the frenzied celebration post Kohli’s heroics. The Baroda all-rounder later revealed that he wasn’t too excited about dead rubber games. Rather, thrillers like these, brought the best out of him.
“For me, these are the games that make heroes, I don’t want to perform in a dead rubber game where the team is already cruising where I come and score 80. I like to score those 40s and 50’s where my team needs it more. May be a 40-ball 40 but that’s fine,” the elated Pandya said.
His attitude towards the game has changed. He has got the fear of failure out and he isn’t getting bothered about what’s going to happen about results as was seen when Kohli and Pandya rescued India from 34 for 4.
He explained how when three balls were left he told his teammates that even if they lose, it’s okay for him. “I am just proud of the manner we have fought this game, we have been a team that has worked hard individually and collectively. Even if we would have lost the game, I would have had a smile on my face and told myself, “You know what, they were good on that day but we tried everything. Down the line, I have accepted the fact that the sport will give me ups and down. More ups I hope but even if there are downs, I will cherish those moments.”
Ask him about the crucial partnership with Kohli that set the perfect comeback and he says they both wanted to take the game deep. Being a close follower of MS Dhoni’s batting, Pandya knew the advantage of taking the game till the last over.
“We were 31/4 and we didn’t have much options to play the big shots. If you don’t try and stick around and instead play big shots and get out, you would never know what are the possibilities if you can play risk-free cricket and take the game deep. Our mind was clear. So when we needed 50 odd in 3 overs, not for once did we think that the target is not achievable. We had the belief,” he pointed out.
Pandya has been on a dream run post his return from injury. He won the IPL crown for Gujarat Titans and emerged as one of the leaders Indian cricket can look forward to in future.
“I will count the time away from the game as well where I was preparing was one of the best moments of my life. It taught me a lot of things and got me on a way like I would have never imagined. There was a time when I didn’t know what was next for Hardik, so I had to get very involved in my thought process and then get something out saying “What do you want from life?” the all-rounder reveals.
Pandya stressed multiple times how these past six months have been fantastic. He wouldn’t like to change anything in his life and it was the best six months of his life.
Ask him how much he learnt from MS Dhoni, especially, the art of finishing.
“I have grown up watching him finish games and back of the mind, I have learnt a lot. All these games, my own experience over the years, has helped me play in these kinds of situations to make sure that I take the game as close as possible and don’t lose hope. If you have hope, you will be able to do something special. Mahi has been Mahi. I can’t say anything more. I have said a lot about him. He is one of the greatest I have played with. Without knowing or not, I have learnt a lot from him,” he added.