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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

For Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni is brother, friend, family and role model

Hardik Pandya has not let captaincy affect his game, he is rather thriving in it. The Gujarat Titans skipper has been recalled to the Indian T20I squad as well.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata |
May 25, 2022 10:48:29 am
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya (left) with MS Dhoni. (IPL)

After taking Gujarat Titans to the IPL final, Hardik Pandya spoke about MS Dhoni.

Hardik’s appointment as Titans captain had raised many an eyebrow; someone who never led a side before in serious cricket. The all-rounder, however, has taken to the job like a duck to water and over the course of this IPL his captaincy skills have been praised. His ability to stay calm under pressure has a touch of Dhoni. Hardik agreed.

“Obviously Mahi bhai has played a big role in my life. He is a dear brother, a dear friend, family to me. So, for me, I have learnt a lot of good of things from him. For me it was more about being individually strong which I’m really proud of myself as well, how I have been able to manage all the parts,” he said at the post-match press conference after Titans’ win over Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1.

Hardik added: “Before the captaincy as well, I always made sure that I approach all the situation in a cool-headed way. Generally, you take better decision that way. For me in my life and in my cricketing journey, it was important to give that 10-second extra rather than rushing in.”

The good thing is that he hasn’t let captaincy affect his game, rather thriving in it. A recall to the Indian T20I squad was well-earned.

Hardik sort of divides opinion. Nobody questions his talent, but his career has played peek-a-boo with controversies, over his fitness and also, off-the-field comments. The player is not perturbed. “People always talk, I can’t help, Hardik Pandya always makes news. I have no problem with it.”

About the game, he spoke about his match-winning partnership with David Miller. “It was very simple for me. I have been in this kind of situation before as well. I try to make sure that I’m netural and calm, which helps to take right decisions. If you are too excited sometimes or too hyped up, you tend to take wrong decisions where you don’t need.

“For me, it was important to create partnerships and be there till the end. When Miller came, I had to make sure that I kind of take pressure off him, and score quick runs and you saw what Miller did after he got set.”

The Titans skipper was all praise for Rashid Khan, whose spell of 0/15 from four overs proved to be the bowling difference between the two sides.

“He (Rashid) plays a big role. He has been a match-winner for his country, his previous franchise. He is always a proven match-winner. I just relax when I give him the ball and let him do his magic. All the time, he comes up with new magic tricks. Always wonderful to have him in your team.”

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Hardik is looking forward to playing the final on his home patch at Motera.

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