AHMEDABAD: Shortly after Shubman Gill defeated Obed McCoy to seal the Gujarat Titans IPL-2022 title, Hardik Pandya was locked in a long embrace with his visibly emotional wife Natasa Stankovic. The Titans’ triumph was, after all, the culmination of a roller coaster journey for India’s versatile player.
After an ordinary spectacle at the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in October-November, he scored just 69 runs in five matches at 34.50 and managed just four overs without a wicket for 40 runs. Hardik has been left out of the Indian squad. Subsequently, the 28-year-old was also released by Mumbai Indians. Soon, however, Hardik has good news ahead as the new Gujarat Titans franchise makes him their captain.
And then IPL 2022 gave Hardik everything he could have wished for. He is now part of the rare group of players who have participated in five IPL title wins. He led the Gujarat Titans, his home state IPL team, to the crown in their first season with a stellar all-around show: 487 runs in 15 games at 44.27, with four fifty at bat at the fourth place. He also took eight wickets at 27.75 (economic rate at just 7.27). And he came back to Team India.
“Obviously she (Natasa) is a very emotional person and she’s happy when she sees me well. She’s seen me go through a lot and she’s seen me try hard. It’s something I doesn’t speak. but she knows how hard I’ve worked behind the scenes,” Hardik said, adding, “My family has always been my strong backbone.”
“WIN THE WORLD CUP, WHATEVER IT IS”
Having almost given up on Test cricket, the rigors of which his body probably cannot withstand, the versatile star is aiming to win a World Cup for India.
Shortly after producing a powerful and winning show in the final against the Rajasthan Royals, Pandya once again explained how a World Cup win, missing from the 28-year-old’s CV so far, is now on the way. her to-do list.
“Absolutely, winning the World Cup for India no matter what (that’s my next goal). I’m going to give it my all. I’ve always been that kind of guy to put the team first.
“For me, the goal will be simple: to make my team win the World Cup. Playing for India has always been a dream come true, no matter how many games I have played. It has always It’s been a pleasure for me to represent the country. . And the kind of love and support that I have is only from the Indian team’s perspective,” Hardik said.
With two World Cups scheduled for this year and next (the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November and the World 50+ in India in the winter of 2023), the man from Baroda will have two chances to realize his dream s can stay in shape.
PANDYA-NEHRA MASTER PLAN
Coming back to this IPL, a key part of Pandya-Ashish Nehra’s (the Titans’ coach) master plan to win the trophy was to ensure a quality bowling team. Rashid Khan (19 wickets in 16 games at 22.15, ER 6.59) conceded just 33 runs in eight overs in the playoffs.
Mohammed Shami (20 wickets in 16 games at 24:40, ER 8:00) was another stellar performer. Lockie Ferguson played with extreme rhythm. Alzarri Joseph, left arm setter Yash Dayal and left arm spinner R Sai Kishore were all bankable.
“We’re both going a bit more on the bowling side because I’ve always believed, although many say T20 is a batting game, hamesha bowlers is jitate hain (it’s the bowlers who win your games) If the batters don’t get you a par score, then if you have top level bowling, which we had, then you can pull things off.
In games where teams conceded 190 points, we made sure to concede 10 fewer points. In the bigger picture, those 10 races play a big role because you end up winning or losing because of those races,” Pandya said.
THE CAPTAIN DOES WONDERS
Clearly the captaincy challenge got the best out of Hardik in this IPL. “Throughout the season I’ve enjoyed the responsibility. It gets the best out of me. And I’ve always been someone who wants to lead from the front. I can lead by example and make sure that if I want my team to work a certain way, I’m the standard bearer for that idea, it makes sense if I do it first.
“This title is going to be special because we talked about creating a legacy. Generations to come will talk about it. Everyone will remember that it was the team that started this journey. Winning the championship in the first year is very, very special,” says Pandia.
In photos, IPL 2022 final: Pandya performs as Gujarat win IPL title
Hardik Pandya played with bat and ball as the Gujarat Titans clinched the IPL title in their debut season with a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in front of a record crowd of 104,859 in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (Photo BCCI/IPL/PTI)
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