Former India cricketer Saba Karim has said that Hardik Pandya spent a lot of time with former India captains MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, but he has his own brand of captaincy.
Hardik Pandya made his debut as a skipper in the Indian Premier League 2022. In his debut season as a skipper, he led newcomers Gujarat Titans (GT) to the IPL 2022 triumph.
After his success in the Indian Premier League, he was named as India’s vice-captain for the home T20I series against South Africa in the absence of a few senior players and he has been named as India’s captain for the two-match T20I series against Ireland.
Meanwhile, Saba Karim, while speaking on TOI Sportscast, praised Hardik Pandya and said that the all-rounder has grown a lot as a person and as a cricketer and he has reinvented his lifestyle to become more mature.
“I think what I have noticed in Hardik Pandya are the learnings that he has absorbed by being an international cricketer over the last 4-5 years.
“If I remember correctly, he made his debut in 2015-16 (January 2016 in a T20I vs Australia in Adelaide), when I was part of the selection committee and since then he has grown not only as a person but also as a cricketer and it seemed like it had come to a stage where he really had to reinvent his lifestyle to become a more mature cricketer and that’s what was seen in this season’s IPL.
“And that is remarkable – it’s not easy for athletes to do that at that level. They tend to follow a certain kind of a lifestyle and discipline. It’s not easy for them to imbibe new things in their character, but Hardik Pandya has been able to do that.
“If you are able to exercise your mind in a very positive way and in a very disciplined manner, the rest becomes very easy. I believe the change we noticed on the field for Gujarat Titans, the change actually started from the captain. And that is why he turned his entire sojourn into such a huge success for Gujarat Titans.” Saba Karim said on TOI Sportscast.
The way Hardik Pandya plays his cricket is so different from what Virat does or what MS Dhoni does – Saba Karim
Former India cricketer added that Hardik has realised that he is an exceptionally talented player and he can’t take things for granted.
“I do believe that these are all life experiences. He started to value the fact that he is such an exceptional cricketer and that he cannot take things for granted. He realised that eventually he has to take care of his fitness, work on his skill – see to it that he is always ahead of the opposition,” he said.
Karim further said that Hardik’s style of playing cricket is different from Kohli and Dhoni and his leadership style is also very different.
“I also feel that there is no one set rule of captaining a side because all individuals are different and the fact that you have to remain what you are instead of trying to ape others, which might not prove successful. And I think Hardik Pandya, although he spent a lot of time with MS Dhoni, spent a lot of time with Virat Kohli, he has his own brand of captaincy and the way he plays his cricket is so different from what Virat does or what MS Dhoni does.”
“So you learn from so many great individuals who have been part of the side, but eventually you bring your own leadership style onto the field and I think that’s what he did. I was quite impressed with the way he handled the press also, which is not an easy thing to do and that showed a lot of maturity. And that evoked feelings from the side (Gujarat Titans) in terms of inspiration, commitment and dedication.” Saba Karim said further on TOI Sportscast.
Saba Karim, who was a national selector when Hardik was first picked to play for India, talked about the reason behind picking the all-rounder in the squad and the things that impressed the selection committee the most.
“His all-round abilities and his power-hitting abilities. Those days we were looking for a batting all-rounder, who can come in as the 6th bowler and hit some quick runs at number 5 or 6 and he was suited to that kind of a role so well.
“He started in that manner and since then he has grown in reputation, he has grown in performances, he became a Test match all-rounder, did quite well for India and then there was a slump in his career. But now, it’s good to see him come up with a revival and as I said, basically he has reinvented himself as a cricketer and as a person,” he elaborated.
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