Former Indian player Virender Sehwag said Hardik Pandya’s off the field personality shouldn’t overshadow his on-field brilliance.
On Sunday, Hardik-led Gujarat Titans lifted their maiden IPL title in the first season itself. The Titans outsmarted Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in front of a raucous home crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Hardik Pandya’s all-round show guides Gujarat Titans to maiden IPL title
Hardik starred with the ball claiming the wickets of Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer to finish 3/17 from four overs as Royals put up 130/9 in the first innings.
The Titans skipper anchored the 131-run chase with a calm and composed mindset when Rajasthan tended to make strides in the second innings.
Hardik scored 34 off 30 deliveries, with the help of three boundaries and a six off Ravichandran Ashwin, in a 63-run stand with opener Shubman Gill, who remained unbeaten on 45.
Hardik Pandya has stood apart across all three departments this season: Virender Sehwag
Hardik slotted himself at No.4 in the Titans batting order throughout the tournament, amassing 487 runs at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.27.
Sehwag said people love Pandya for his game and ignore the incidents that aren’t attached to the field. The former Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) captain also appreciated Gujarat Titans’ inexperienced coaching staff including head coach Ashish Nehra.
“The personality off the field does not matter, it is absolutely irrelevant. Because it makes no impact on the field. Hardik Pandya has stood apart across all three departments this season. People love Pandya because of the things he does on the field, not off the field,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.
“It is not like GT had a star-studded coaching staff. Apart from Gary Kirsten, they were relatively inexperienced. But, they played their role really well. They have supported the players really well and given them what they want,” he added.
Ahead of IPL 2022, Hardik didn’t have any leadership stint in competitive cricket but with his manner of leading Titans to the IPL 2022 title, the Indian all-rounder could reckon for India’s future captain.