Hardik Pandya
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Newcomers to the IPL Last month, Gujarat Titans won the Indian Premier League (IPL) in their maiden season, defeating Rajasthan Royals by two wickets in front of a record crowd in Ahmedabad. The Titans, who competed alongside the Lucknow Super Giants in a 10-team league, had a storybook finale.

After being questioned about their auction plan before the competition, the Hardik Pandya-led team confounded skeptics. During their inaugural IPL season, the team found a number of game-changers, but skipper Hardik was a cut above the rest.

In the last few years, the flashy Baroda all-rounder has had his fair share of ailments. Following the T20 World Cup last year, he was also dropped from the national team. But he made a triumphant comeback to competitive cricket, culminating in a match-defining performance in the title decider.

Hardik bowled 3/17 to hold Rajasthan to 130 for nine before hitting 34 in the lopsided final. With his important wickets, notably Jos Buttler’s prized scalp for 39, the local lad set up victory.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. (Photo: IPL)

Obviously, I Was Happy For Myself: Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya talked about how he won a ‘war’ with himself after helping his home IPL side to their first title. He pondered on the injuries and obstacles he had to overcome on his way back:

“Emotional-wise I was pretty alright. Obviously, I was happy but for me, it was more about the battle which I won against myself and kind of other things as well. Even qualifying was a big deal for me because a lot of people doubted us before we started.

“A lot of things were said to me before I made a comeback. For me, it was never about giving them answers but I was just proud of the process that I followed,” Hardik told Star Sports.

Hardik Pandya. Photo-IPL
Hardik Pandya. Photo-IPL

“I’ve gotten up at 5 am in the morning to make sure I train and then make sure that the second time I train at 4 pm and give myself enough rest. I slept almost those four months at 9:30 pm.

“A lot of sacrifices were made but for me, it was the battle which I fought before playing the IPL. After seeing the result, it was more satisfying for me, as a cricketer,” he further added.

On being asked about his comeback into the Indian side he said:

“I am obviously very excited. Playing for the country has always been special. Coming after such a long break and coming back fresh gives me the opportunity to kind of show what exactly I’ve worked hard for. Doing well for the country is more important and it gives me immense pleasure.”

“Every series or every game you play is as important as your last. For me, World Cup is the goal but this is the right platform to prepare for it. Cricket is going to come back to back so you always need to be in the rhythm.

“This series is a great opportunity for me to express myself. My roles will be changed, I won’t be the captain or batting higher up the order. This will be back to what Hardik has been known for,” he further added.

Hardik had a great outing in his comeback game he would hope to continue the same form.

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