'Hardik Pandya relaxed and relieved after donning India's and not the Mumbai Indians' blues': Sanjay Manjrekar | Crickit
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'Hardik Pandya relaxed and relieved after donning India's and not the Mumbai Indians' blues': Sanjay Manjrekar

Jun 04, 2024 06:39 PM IST

Manjrekar heaped praise on Hardik and said that he has been one of the key players for the Indian team in the ICC events and IND vs PAK clashes in recent times.

Sanjay Manjrekar asserted that Hardik Pandya is relieved donning India's blue jersey and not the Mumbai Indians' blue as he displayed good signs with the bat against Bangladesh in the warm-up match of T20 World Cup. The flamboyant all-rounder had a tough time playing in the cash-rich IPL 2024, where he made a comeback to MI after a gap of two years. Leading the side on his return, Hardik failed to inspire the five-time champions as they finished at the bottom of the points table.

India's Hardik Pandya greets fans during an exhibition cricket match between Bangladesh and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.(AP)
India's Hardik Pandya greets fans during an exhibition cricket match between Bangladesh and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.(AP)

After a forgettable IPL 2024, Hardik silenced his critics with an unbeaten 40-run knock off 23 balls against Bangladesh in the warm-up clash. The flamboyant all-rounder roared back in form and smashed Tanvir Islam for a hat-trick of sixes to show why he is still one of the best at his role in the shortest format of the game.

It was a tricky pitch to bat on when India faced Bangladesh in New York and out of the three finishers in the line-up, only Pandya was the one who stood tall for the side. Shivam Dube (14) and Ravindra Jadeja (4*) looked sluggish in the middle and was finding it tough to middle the ball. Meanwhile, Pandya also claimed a wicket with the ball.

Manjrekar heaped praise on Hardik and said that he has been one of the key players for the Indian team in the ICC events and India vs Pakistan clashes in recent times.

"I have been repeatedly saying, even before this match, if you see Hardik Pandya's performances in World Cups, he played the all-rounder's role very well in the 2019 World Cup, he had a main performance in the India-Pakistan match on the big stage, and see his performance with the bat in the semi-final India lost in Adelaide, he scored 60 runs at a strike rate of 190," Manjrekar told Star Sports.

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Manjrekar further made a bold claim that Hardik was feeling pressure from outside while playing for Mumbai this season but things have changed since he donned the Indian jersey for the T20 World Cup.

"What happened in the IPL was a slight temperamental issue because he was feeling the pressure from outside. The environment might not have been good. I am not at all surprised that he will feel slightly relaxed and relieved after donning India's and not the Mumbai Indians' blues. He has the ability and I am repeatedly saying that he is a big-match player," the former India batter added.

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