Hardik Pandya gave a stellar performance on the tour of England
He took a break of 6 months after T20 WC last year
Former Indian wicketkeeper’s big hand in Pandya’s comeback
New Delhi. Hardik Pandya is currently enjoying his comeback in Team India. Pandya started it from IPL 2022 itself. He returned to the field through the league and regained his lost status as an all-rounder. During this, under his captaincy, he made Gujarat Titans the champion of IPL in the debut season itself. Pandya had silenced his critics from this one tournament. Even if some stone was left unturned, it was completed by the recently concluded limited overs series against Ireland and England. Hardik emerged stronger as an all-rounder during the tour of Ireland and England. After all, how did Team India get the Hardik before 2018? Let me tell you the whole story.
Pandya was hit with both the ball and the bat in the 3 ODI series against England. He scored the highest 100 runs in the series after Rishabh Pant (125). The average was 50 and the strike rate was 101. His performance with the ball also remained the same. He bowled 17 overs in the entire series and took 6 wickets for 74 runs. He also played an important innings of 71 runs in the third and deciding match in Manchester, taking 4 wickets for 24 runs. In this match, Pandya shared a 133-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Rishabh Pant.
At the same time, he landed in two matches out of the 3 T20 series against England. Took a total of 5 wickets for 62 runs in 7 overs. He also scored 63 runs in this series. The England tour was also special for Pandya because he did the best performance of his T20 and ODI career as a bowler on this tour. However, the last year was not good for him.
India suffered losses in T20 World Cup
In the T20 World Cup last year, Pandya could not perform like the all-rounder’s status. He played five matches. But bowled only 4 overs in the entire tournament. Even with the bat, his performance was not special and he could score only 69 runs. Team India had to bear the loss and it could not progress beyond the group-stage itself. After this Hardik went on a long break. The Indian Cricket Board also made it clear that they know the importance of Hardik as a player. But, now his return will not be a batsman, but as an all-rounder like before 2018. That is, he has to be perfect as a bowler too.
How many times did Pandya have to suffer because of the injury?
Pandya was suffering from back problem since 2018. He first complained about it after making a significant contribution to the Trentbridge Test victory on the 2018 tour of England. In this test, Pandya scored an unbeaten 52 runs after taking 6 wickets. After this, while bowling in an Asia Cup match against Pakistan in September, he had to leave the field due to the same problem.
A month later, his back pain worsened during the second T20I against South Africa in Bangalore. After this he decided to have surgery and went to London for it in 2019. After being out of the team for several months, Pandya returned to the field from the ODI series on Australia tour in 2020. But, he was seen struggling to bowl. Played in England’s domestic limited over series last year. But didn’t bowl. It was this weakness that India suffered in the T20 World Cup in UAE and India did not go beyond the group-stage.
More prepares Pandya for comeback
This is where his comeback as a bowler started. He sought a long break from the BCCI and started working on fitness to return to the field as an all-rounder. For this he returned to his mentor Kiran More. More had also understood after talking to Pandya that his poor performance in the T20 World Cup had broken him. In such a situation, Pandya should start believing in himself again, for this, More started work on his batting first.
I worked on Pandya’s batting first: More
More said in a conversation with Hindustan Times, “Initially when Pandya came to me. So he was really struggling. He looked troubled even during batting. He told me, “I am struggling to score runs in my head. I said, never mind, don’t worry about it. We will talk about it after 15 days. It worked. After 15-20 days, I saw a lot of difference in the way he hit the balls.
‘Pandya is a heartless player’
The former Indian wicketkeeper further said, “Pandya told me that he wants to work on his game by staying in Baroda for three months. If you as a player have a clear plan for your comeback, it helps a lot. If you encourage Pandya, he will perform for you every time. As he did in England. He is a lion hearted person.”
Complete program prepared separately for fitness
More worked on Jahan Pandya’s batting and bowling. At the same time, Soham Desai, the conditioning trainer of the Indian cricket team, designed a complete health program for him. Regarding this, More said, “Back injury is not a small injury. Whenever you go on the field, this thing is always on your mind. But, now Pandya is fully fit and his success in IPL has given him more confidence. This belief is helping him perform well on the field. At present, Team India does not have his option.
FIRST PUBLISHED : July 21, 2022, 11:48 IST