IPL 2022 GT vs LSG: 'All-rounder' Hardik Pandya makes early case of Team India comeback 

With the T20 World Cup looming large, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, is in the process of returning to his best and displayed a glimpse of it in Gujarat Titans' opening IPL 2022 fixture against Lucknow Super Giants. 

Hardik Pandya bowled his stipulated overs in the IPL 2022 match vs LSG (Courtesy: iplt20.com)
By Samrat Chakraborty | Mar 29, 2022 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

When Hardik Pandya bursted onto the scene in 2016, India’s search for a genuine all-rounder, came to a close. He could play quick-fire cameos, pick up wickets and his athleticism made him a good fielder. Throughout 2017 and 2018, he rose through the ranks due to his all-round efficiency, and made himself an undetachable part of the limited-overs over format besides earning a place in the Test set up. 

However, in life, as in cricket, some situations are unprecedented even though injuries remain a part and parcel in the life of a cricketer. In 2019, a lower-back injury stood as a hurdle in his career. He underwent a surgery in the United Kingdom and was treated under the same doctor who treated him during India’s tour of England in 2018 and the 2019 World Cup.

He was never ready for the surgery but the thought that he is not doing enough justice to his potential and his place at Team India motivated him towards it and helped him develop a stronger mindset. 

“I was managing the back, tried everything possible not to get into surgery or anything. After trying everything, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t working. I noticed that I was not able to give my 100 per cent and that meant I was not doing justice to myself and the team. That is when I decided to go for the surgery,” Pandya told IANS. 

“To be honest, right now I feel very good. We are working very properly. After surgery it is not easy, so we are trying to ensure that we cover all the areas. But everything said and done, injuries aren’t something you can control. I have noticed this after playing for 4-5 years that even if I don’t wish to get injured and take the necessary precautions, injuries is something which is a part and parcel of a sportsperson’s life. You cannot say I will not get injured and have to take it how it comes. So right now, I am trying to come back strong,” he smiled.

READ MORE: Hardik Pandya keen to ‘take pressure with his experience’ as captain

Hardik Pandya tried to steer clear of negativity 

The injury phase was not new for Pandya but it was a substantial one which taught him to steer clear of negativity. He took the setback positively and developed a stronger character which he wants to replicate on the field as well. 

“It might sound cool, but it is not easy to keep coming back as you need motivation. Yes, we all have motivation, but you need to be sure that you do not go down the wrong path. You don’t question yourself and why is it happening to you. I try and back myself and stay positive. I have understood that every comeback gives me an edge and makes me stronger. I want people to say I learnt something when I was away due to injury.

“Physically I can always come back, but mentally it is important to stay healthy. And to be honest, a lot of things have happened in my life and I have become much stronger mentally,” he explained.

Hardik Pandya in the process of Team India comeback

One can start to believe that Pandya is in the process of making a Team India comeback, having made his last international appearance in November 2021, as he ran through his four overs in Gujarat Titans’ opening IPL 2022 fixture against Lucknow Super Giants and also hit 140 kph on the speed clock. 

“Mostly I’ll bat at number four, because I want to take pressure with my experience so that the others can play freely,” Pandya said in the post-match interview. 

In his absence, all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, was given a chance for the national team but the national team selectors had said that they will have a look at him once he is perfectly fit. IPL 2022 will be the perfect stage for that inspection.

“Definitely, Hardik was a very important part of the Indian team. But now after the injuries, we’ll say that until he isn’t 100% fit, until we get that information that he’s ready to go, is bowling and is match fit… when that comes in front of us then definitely he’s an important player and we’ll consider him immediately,” BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma said. 

And maybe, the best of Pandya, might well be on the cards at the T20 World Cup. 

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