India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is known for his clean hitting and wicket-taking spells. Through his all-round ability, Pandya cemented his place in the national side, as he has played in all the three formats of the game. However, after making a successful comeback in the Ranji Trophy against Mumbai; he got picked for the Test series in Australia.

Hardik Pandya on learning from Ponting and stint with Mumbai Indians

Meanwhile, Pandya’s career took a sharp turn in the year 2015 when Mumbai Indians snapped him for the IPL. Under the watchful eyes of Ricky Ponting, Pandya learnt the nuisance of the game.

Hardik Pandya, Ricky Ponting
Pandya says his actual cricketing career began with Ricky Ponting. Image Courtesy: Getty

Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, who was a part of the franchise, backed the seam bowling all-rounder. Punter saw the spark in Pandya and from there on there was no looking back. Moreover, Hardik lives in Mumbai now and calls the city as his first home.

“First of all, Mumbai Indians has become my first home as I live in Mumbai now,” Hardik Pandya was quoted as saying by TimesNow in an exclusive interview.

Ricky Ponting is fantastic – Pandya

While many took notice of Pandya post the World T20 heroics, where he defended two runs from three balls against Bangladesh, the cricketer feels his rise started way before.

“Ricky is someone who has been fantastic. Even the way he backed me. Yes, my international career started with MS. But the actual career which I think that people started noticing me was because of Ricky. He backed me; he saw something in me. You need opportunities, someone who backs you. You need the support which Ricky gave. It made me play freely. I was a different cricketer altogether,” Pandya said.

Hardik Pandya, Australia vs India 2018
Pandya’s presence will boost India’s confidence. Image Courtesy: Getty

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli would pin his hopes on Pandya to play a vital role in the remaining two Tests. Adding the all-rounder will give India options to add depth to the side. However, after winning the first Test in Adelaide, the visitors lost in Perth by 146 runs.