What did Ravi Shastri say about Hardik Pandya? How did he stand strong?

Mumbai Indians’ reluctance to hold Hardik Pandya garnered quite an attraction in the IPL Auction. Word spread from mouth to mouth. Many pundits shared their ‘knowledge’ and ‘views’ on why Mumbai left him out. Soon enough, the situation transitioned from “Hardik Left Out?” to “Hardik Kicked Out?”. It was deemed that the so-called heir of Kapil Dev would be yet another flop for India. “Yet, he proved everyone wrong”, say Shastri.

Image Credits: ESPN

Times were tough for him. Recurring injuries and lack of bowling kept him out of the squad. Still,Hardik Pandya wasn’t the one to give up. So says Ravi Shastri, the former Indian head coach. In an explicit interview, Ravi Shastri discussed the mental condition of Hardik Pandya. He said Hardik was gutted after learning the news. Shastri also says that it was hard but not impossible for him.

The Retention fiasco

Mumbai had to choose between the likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. They could retain only three of the five. Being the indomitable captain, Rohit Sharma was an automatic pick. Jasprit Bumrah wasn’t a tough choice either. Now, Mumbai was at the crossroads. They had to choose between Kishan, Pandya and Yadav.

Image Credits; Indian Express

Ishan Kishan was a searing hot property. Besides being a left-handed batsman and a wicket-keeper, Ishan hitting skills and dynamism was appealing. Pandya was a war veteran. He fought many battles for this Mumbai side and was a deadly finisher. Suryakumar was a rising stock. His exploits in the Internationals got him the better of the other two.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Hardik. He felt that his loyalty to the Mumbai franchise wasn’t repaid. Shastri says, “He was in shock that Mumbai Indians didn’t retain him ahead of IPL 2022.” A player of Hardik’s calibre is firepower anywhere in the batting order. A decision to leave him out of the core could have played both ways for Mumbai.

Image Credits: mumbaiindians.com

Pandya himself admitted that the fact Mumbai didn’t choose him affected him a lot. “I was depressed and sad. I didn’t expected to be dropped.”, he said. One opportunity led to another. Mumbai’s loss was Gujarat’s gain.

A New Beginning

Gujarat Titans approached Hardik with an opportunity to captain the side. Hardik took the opportunity happily. Throughout a tedious IPL season, fate played its game. Hardik led his side, Gujarat Titans, to their maiden IPL title in the debut season. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians were the wooden spoon winners.

Image Credits: iplt20.com

Hardik led his side with dexterity and composure. Many labelled that Pandya wasn’t exactly captain material. However, Pandya proved them wrong. He led his team from all fronts. He backed his players, and that did wonders. Hardik suppressed his natural inclination to attack and took a more reserved role. He became the pivot in Titan’s line-up. Hardik usually came after the fall of the first wicket. He steadily scored runs and anchored the innings. The likes of David Miller, Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan made sure to capitalize on his solid foundation.

Hardik also chipped in as a full-time pacer. He usually bowled 2-3 overs and came back with decent results. Shastri also brings up the fact that Pandya’s mental fortitude was remarkable. He adds that the responsibility of leading brought maturity out of him. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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