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Blitzing in the IPL, Hardik Pandya wants to carry his form into World Cup

Pandya has turned his fortunes around in the ongoing IPL season. In eight matches for Mumbai Indians, he has accumulated 186 runs at an average of 46.50 and a rapid strike rate of 191.75.

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2019 09:56 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Hardik Pandya,IPL,World Cup
Mumbai Indians Hardik Pandya celebrates after they won the VIVO IPL T20 cricket match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai, India, Monday, April 15, 2019(AP)

The ban imposed on Hardik Pandya by the BCCI for his ‘sexist’ comments in a Television chat show threatened to overshadow his cricketing career.

Pandya and KL Rahul, who accompanied him in the chat show, were sent back home from Australia. They missed the three-match series Down Under. For several days Pandya refused to step out of the house, his father had said.

To make matters worse, the all-rounder suffered a back injury on his return during the limited-overs tour of New Zealand and subsequently missed India’s ODI and T20I series against Australia at home. At this stage, things were not looking good for the Baroda cricketer especially with the World Cup round the corner.

However, Pandya has turned his fortunes around in the ongoing IPL season. In eight matches for Mumbai Indians, he has accumulated 186 runs at an average of 46.50 and a rapid strike rate of 191.75. Batting lower down the order, Pandya’s big hitting has often rescued Mumbai Indians. He has contributed with the ball, claiming 7 wickets,and took some fine catches in the outfield.

ALSO READ: Hardik Pandya wants to prove a point with bat and ball - Rohit Sharma

On Monday, Pandya slammed a 16-ball 37 to fashion Mumbai’s five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). His knock came hours after he was named in India’s 15-member World Cup squad. The all-rounder is now determined to take his confidence and six-hitting form (13 sixes in 8 games) to cricket’s marquee 50-over event which gets underway on May 30 in England.

“It is pretty important to always have the confidence behind you. The World Cup is a big stage. It is for the first time that I will be playing (a World Cup). It is important for me to keep hitting the ball well. I was away from the game for some time, so coming back it was important for me to hit well,” said Pandya.

Known for his attacking approach, Pandya said that has been his role in the team. “I have been doing that for the last four years now. That is my role in any team I play. I have been practising at the nets the same thing. It is about the situation. You play according to situation and if you are smart enough, you will more often get the result you desire,” he said.

Pandya was positive about India’s chances in the World Cup considering the team did pretty well in the Champions Trophy in England two years ago.

“It will depend on the situation and the conditions. If it’s the same conditions that we encountered in the Champions Trophy, it will be a help for us. In ODIs wickets are generally flat even in England,” he said.

Asked about the ban, the 25-year-old admitted it was a setback but was happy to have come out of it. He is now focussing on his game.

“It’s okay, everyone has a setback and for me, I got some time for my body and working on fitness routines as well. The time I was out is helping me right now because I am in a good mindset and everything is coming right for me,” Pandya said in the post-match conference.

About the condition of his back, he said, “The back is good, touchwood.”

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 09:53 IST