Was keen on Suryakumar Yadav to be part of Indian team in 2020: Hardik Pandya | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: In an ordinary year for Indian cricket, the one thing that stood out like a bright spark for India was the phenomenal batting of Suryakumar Yadav. “Living a dream” in his own words, the 32-year-old went in ‘zen’ mode, leaving bowlers searching for a way to crack his code as he blasted away 1164 runs@46.56 in 31T20Is.
Reminding all of a certain AB de Villiers, ‘Sky,’ using his murderous bat like a revolving door, shredded the ball to all corners of the ground, as if he was playing a video game in which the fielders were mere statues.
It was the sort of run which saw him being elevated as the vice-captain of India’s T20I side for the home series against Sri Lanka. Just before he kicked off his T20I captaincy tenure on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium, Hardik Pandya, who has seen the rise and rise of Surya from close quarters at the Mumbai Indians and then India, waxed eloquent about his new deputy, while also revealing that he wished the Mumbaikar was a part of Team India in 2020 itself.
“I have said this in the past about Surya. He played international cricket late. I was always keen from 2020 for him to be part of the Indian team. But unfortunately, it was not. So, God gave him (a chance). He played late but he got exactly what he could have got earlier as well. I can only wish him the best. I hope he continues the run for the Indian team and flourishes more in his life and scores more runs and makes sure that he helps the team to win as well,” praised Pandya.
Like Ravi Shastri, India’s new T20I captain wants Surya to be given a crack in Test cricket as well. “He has been fantastic, and going ahead, he is a very important player (for India) in all the formats. I feel in red ball (cricket) as well, he has the game to kind of change the momentum and the situation (of the match), if he comes (to bat) and I am sure (that) the selectors and the captain are looking at him as well. In white ball cricket, as everyone knows, I don’t need to tell how important he is. But for us, as captain and management, he is one of the most important players and I want him to flourish more,” Pandya complimented.
‘It has been a magical year for me’
Time flies in the life of a cricketer. When 2022 started, Pandya’s career was going through the doldrums, dropped as he was after a poor T20 World Cup in 2021. The last 12 months, though, have seen his fortunes soar and soar. He led debutants Gujarat Titans to the IPL title, and followed that up with several match-winning performances for India. Before it ended, the year catapulted the 29-year-old to the India 20I captaincy. No wonder, he chose to call it a “magical year.”
“Obviously, one year back, things were quite different when I went out of the squad, it was quite difficult. It has been a magical year for me. Obviously, (I) would have liked to win the (T20) World Cup, but it is part and parcel of the game. Going forward, there is a lot to achieve, I have not achieved anything, looking forward to the future, there will be multiple World Cups in multiple years, the goal will be to win the World Cup,” said the Baroda man.
Yes, after making his mark in white-ball cricket, Pandya is now weaving his next big dream-winning the 2023 ODI World Cup, which will be held in India later this year. It’s his new year’s resolution. “Yes, the biggest (goal is) to win the World Cup. I don’t think there can be a bigger resolution than that, where you want to win the World Cup, and we will try everything possible in our capacity to go out there and give everything. Yes, I think that things are looking bright, and let’s hope it is (good),” he said.
‘I know the language of hard work’
Pandya, meanwhile, seemed relaxed and refreshed after a break, exchanging new year greetings with the reporters before answering the questions. Quizzed on how he was planning to manage his bowling workload as the captain, he grinned, “That’s all right. It’s up to me. Rest assured, there won’t be any tension.”
Pressed further, he offered a philosophical answer, repeating the word “hard work’ multiple times to stress his point. “I know the language of hard work. I don’t think I know any other language in my life. I have been thrown here and there and the only thing that has got me back is my hard work. So, how I am going to manage is through my hard work. Keep working hard and make sure I look after my body which I do,” he emphasized.
“Injuries and all that are all part of the game, I cannot change it. I am confident about everything that I have done and I believe in my process which has got me here and I am sitting here. Going forward, the only thing I am going to focus on is to make sure I give my body ample chance to be out there and be at my best. And hope for the best, as simple as that,” he explained.
‘Wish Pant a speedy recovery’
The team is naturally concerned about its lynchpin Rishabh Pant, who met with a bad accident a few days back on the Delhi-Dehradun highway and is currently recovering in a hospital in Dehradun.
“What happened is very unfortunate, no one has control over it. As a team we wish him all the best, our love and prayers are always with him. Wish him a speedy recovery. Obviously, he was a very important part of the team. Now, everyone knows where the situation (is), and a lot of other people can get opportunities. Yes, Pant, if he was also there he would have made a big difference because of the player he is, but now he is not there so we can’t control it. We will see what the future holds for us,” Pandya said.
‘In T20 World Cup, our approach wasn’t the same’
One of the biggest mistakes that India made and paid for, in the T20 World Cup last year was abandoning their carefree, aggressive approach, choosing to go back to the more conservative attitude that had already cost them the 2021 T20 World Cup. Almost admitting to the blunder, Pandya promised that ‘his team’ would look to reintroduce that template in T20Is once again.
“You see, before the (T20) World Cup, I don’t think we did anything wrong. Our template, approach, everything was the same. Yes, in the World Cup, things didn’t go how we wanted. And I think our approach was not the same-what it was before the World Cup. What we have noticed and told the boys is that just go out there and express (yourself), which they will do. And it’s up to us how we back them. What we have said is that we’re going to back you to the core. All the players have that support from my side that I’m going to back them to the core,” he stressed.

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