Hardik Pandya is set to return to the field after two months as India take on South Africa in the first T20I of the three-match series in Dharamsala on September 15. Pandya was rested by the team management after India were knocked out of World Cup 2019 by New Zealand in the semi-final. Pandya was not a part of India’s tour of West Indies due to a niggle in his back.
The Baroda all-rounder who scored 226 runs and took 10 wickets in 9 World Cup matches expressed how he felt after the semi-final loss by a narrow margin.
“It was difficult and we all felt the same pain, but life moves on. I would have been more upset if we as a team hadn’t done justice to our performance. I think as a team we played as champions and except for those 30 minutes, I thought we played outstandingly and everyone was contributing and looking to excel. It is just how it is at the knockout stage. We have kind of moved on and we want to focus on the next World Cup (WT20) and win that,” Pandya told IANS.
The Mumbai Indians all-rounder revealed how important it is for him to focus on his fitness.
“It is a little difficult because the thing I do as a batsman is then replicated as a bowler. So, I bowl the same amount of balls that a bowler bowls and then I bat for as long as a batsman will help keep my game on point. That is why it is important for me to be super fit and that I am improving my fitness all the time. It has not been easy till now and I have to manage my workload at all times,” the all-rounder said.
The 25-year-old revealed that he focuses on enjoying his game in the middle and is backed by skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri.
“When someone like your captain and coach backs you, the confidence increases and you look to express yourself and that brings out the best in you. I have always made sure that I understand the situation and then enjoy myself. Enjoying the game decreases the pressure. I have confidence in myself so there is no question of pressure.
“The captain and coach expect me to do well and that gives me confidence because that means I have done something nice in my short career. It is always important to go out and enjoy yourself because at the end of the day it is a sport and I love the sport,” he explained.