Learning from mistakes with every passing game: Hardik

Team India recorded their 6th successive T20I series victory in Bristol as they chased down 199 with eight balls to spare and the flamboyant Hardik Pandya had a big role to play with both - bat and ball.

Flat surface, lovely weather, short boundaries and the English openers going all guns blazing. Hardik Pandya was to deal with all this when he was thrown the ball by skipper Virat Kohli in Bristol last evening. And he went for 22 runs off his opening over. But he didn’t let that rocky start deter his spirit. "When I went for 22, see this T20 format, it's a funny game. You need to back yourself and come and bowl your best balls. After getting hit for 22, I was still normal. Krunal, my elder brother, told me, ‘It’s okay, you can do it’. The game is like that. If you come and bowl in the right lengths, if you take wickets, on this kind of wicket and ground, eventually you’ll stop runs.”

After that disastrous start, the all-rounder made a strong comeback in his second spell as he dismissed the likes of Alex Hales (30), Eoin Morgan (6), Ben Stokes (14) and Jonny Bairstow (25). He played a crucial part in the last 10 overs of the England innings and tilted the game in India’s favour with his breakthroughs. Talking about how we went about in his second spell, this is what he had to say, “My focus was that I just bowl different balls and keep it simple rather than just go for Yorkers, because the shortest boundary was the straight. So, if I missed my Yorker, it would go.” He further added, “When I bowl, I think as a batsman. Generally, when I bowl, batsmen are going hard in this format. So, I try to think as a batsman and I try to outplay them.”

The hard work paid off brilliantly as Hardik was the pick of the bowlers for India and returned the figures of 4/38. But his part in the match was far from over.

In the run chase, he was promoted in the batting order and came ahead of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina with India still needing 48 runs off 31 balls. His quickfire 33* in 14 balls ensured that the visitors won the match comfortably. Here’s what Hardik had to say about his entertaining cameo. “When I was younger, I batted at three. So whenever I come in, I play according to the situation. Doesn’t matter – 13 balls, 30-odd, 25 balls 25 depending on the situation, I play accordingly. And eventually, when you do that, you end up doing well,”.
His all-round effort won him accolades, but the 24-year-old was more chuffed about the team’s victory.

“But I would have loved to restrict them, I gave 38,” said Pandya of the performance. “In the first over, I wanted to give less runs. But yes, I can call it the best performance. But it doesn’t matter. In the end, if the team wins, even if I give 50 runs and don’t take a wicket, if the team wins I am more than happy. I don’t play for my own performance.”

From being a raw talent to becoming one of India’s finest all-rounder, Hardik Pandya has indeed come a long way. Talking about his inspiring journey, he said, “I’m learning. I’m always learning from the game. I make sure I keep on learning from my mistakes, which is helping my game. We have a fantastic supporting staff and leaders, who are giving us immense confidence to go and express ourselves. And we are just going out and enjoying the game rather than thinking what’s going to happen. “We are just playing our best cricket and when you do that, you end up doing well.”


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