“IT TOOK a lot of time,” he says before adding, ”Only three minutes,” with a sheepish smile. Hardik Pandya has just been asked how long it took for him to get over the frustration of having been run out in the Champions Trophy final after he had single-handedly made a match out of a hopeless situation. And “three minutes” does sound like a very short period, considering how extreme his reaction was after all — flinging his arms, shaking his head, violently hitting the air with his bat and almost smashing one of the boundary boards at the Oval. Pandya sees the funny side of it now, and insists it didn’t take him too long to see the funny side of it even back then.
“I thought it was just an outburst. Nothing specific. It wasn’t intentional. I am always like that in my life as well. I get hyper quickly and after a few minutes, I am laughing. Actually, I was laughing in the dressing room. I was disappointed but it’s all about a team sport. So you need to move forward,” he recalled at Sabina Park on Tuesday. And Pandya insists that even the Indian dressing room, if anything, saw the funny side of his outrage too.
“Obviously they were laughing. I reacted way too furiously,” he added.
As it turns out, Pandya found himself yet again in a run chase scenario this Sunday at North Sound in Antigua. But this was a lot different to that backs-to-the-wall position that India found themselves in against Pakistan. When he joined MS Dhoni in the middle, the required run rate was still very manageable. But the sluggish nature of the pitch meant he couldn’t quite come in and explode into fifth gear like is his game generally. Pandya eventually fell to a Jason Holder yorker while trying to manufacture a shot to the fine-leg region by walking across his stumps, and India eventually failed to chase down 190. The 23-year-old, though, recounts the experience as being an enlightening one, especially batting alongside the master of these situations, Dhoni. “I am known for my sixes but I’ve played those innings as well. But it’s more about seeing the situation. Like I was doing in the last game,” he said. He also recalled the conversations he was having with Dhoni during their crucial partnership, which wasn’t good enough in the end.
“The conversation was simple. The power we both have, we can chase down any total if required. It was more about staying there at the wicket and taking it deep. We were doing just that. It was unfortunate that I shuffled and got out. I faced a similar situation in the early stages of my career as well against New Zealand where I wasn’t able to finish the game but I know how to do it now,” he explained.
Pandya, though, did recall one run-chase where he actually saw the team home, earlier this year at home against England, and about captain Virat Kohli’s poignant advice post that game, one that he insisted will stay with him throughout his career. “When I finished the game against England with a 40 not out of 40 balls, he said international cricket is all about copy-paste. You do it once and you keep repeating it the next day and you will get success eventually. I kept that in mind,” he said.