The rockstar allrounder of Team India, Hardik Pandya has been at the pinnacle of his career in the shorter formats of the game. The monstrous power-hitter who is also India’s most potential option as the 5th bowler clearly has hogged all limelight this year in a roaring comeback. Back in 2021, Pandya’s frequent struggles with his fitness had apparently left him sidelined from the main squad. Often touted as India’s best find after Kapil Dev and Irfan Pathan in the seam all-rounder department, a lot of questions were asked whether the promising prodigy can still hold onto his place in the Indian team setup.
From underdogs to champions: Pandya steals the show
After a long stint in the MI dressing camp, the star all-rounder travelled to the debutant Gujarat Titans franchise and was promoted to a captaincy. The surprising move did raise quite a few eyebrows but one thing was clear – IPL 15 was set to be a do-or-die situation for the T20 specialist. what followed can only be scripted as the resurgence of the hero whose capabilities were never doubted but only eagerly awaited.
Read also: Is ODI Cricket Really dying?
From leading an inexperienced side counted amongst the weaker teams ahead of the tournament, Pandya’s bold captaincy accented his acumen as a leader. It was quite a delight for fans to see Pandya up and running bowling his full quota of 4 overs once again. In addition, his experience of tackling crunch situations did shape his bowling plan too. His effective use of the short delivery saw him rise as a matchwinner with the ball as well. His best was however reserved for the finals. He single-handedly broke the backbone of the mighty batting lineup of RR, picking up 3 scalps in 4 overs. In his debut season as a captain, Pandya shunned his critics leading his side from the front and clinching the IPL title comprehensively. It was quite evident, that the world of cricket was finally witnessing Hardik Pandya 2.0.
The all-rounder India desperately needed
In 17 international appearances in 2022, Pandya has amassed 381 runs at an average close to 35. With 2 fifties to his name, the premier campaigner will definitely be India’s player to watch out for in the ICC WT20. In addition, Pandya the seamer maintained an economy fairly below 7. His clinical average of 19.88 has come as big relief for the team management.
Many cricket pundits often attribute Rohit Sharma‘s massive international success to his promotion to the captaincy of the Mumbai Indians back in 2013. Pandya too seems to follow his skipper’s footsteps. As far as fans are concerned, everyone hopes that his purple patch continues to bag more accolades for him and Team India.