HT NxT: 'I used to bat at No.3, became an all-rounder by chance,' says Hardik Pandya
- In a conversation with veteran sports journalist Ayaz Memon on Day 1 of Hindustan Times' virtual HT NxT, Hardik narrated how transformed into a fast-bowling all-rounder and went on to become one of the important cogs in India’s wheel.
Hardik Pandya, considered as one of India’s most impactful players in white-ball cricket mainly due to his abilities to change the game by contributing in all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding – decided to become an all-rounder at the age of 19. In fact, Pandya likes to attribute his transition into an all-rounder from an attacking batsman to ‘luck. In a conversation with veteran sports journalist Ayaz Memon on Day 1 of Hindustan Times' virtual HT NxT, Hardik narrated how he transformed into a fast-bowling all-rounder and went on to become one of the most important cogs in India’s wheel.
“I became an all-rounder by chance. It was pure luck. The transition took place when I was 19. Before I played for India, I had bowled for probably one year only,” Hardik, who is currently in UAE with the Mumbai Indians squad gearing up for the remainder of IPL 2021, said.
Hardik, who burst onto the scene showcasing his all-round abilities for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, said he used to borrow fast-bowling shoes from teammates during his U19 playing days and bowled in the nets only to give the regular seamers some rest.
“When I started bowling, I was helping out my U19 bowlers because they were tired by bowling so much. I was a batsman who used to bat at No.3. I used to borrow their shoes also because I didn’t have fast-bowling shoes.
“Sharath Kumar sir was watching our U19 practice from some 200 meters away. The next day he came to watch our local game, where I played for Kiran More Academy. It was a green top and no fast bowler was available. I borrowed someone’s shoes and got a five-for in that game. That’s why I say it’s luck by chance. Sharath sir then took me a month sir in the Ranji Trophy squad. Before that, I didn’t bowl,” he added.
The Baroda cricketer has so far played 11 Tests, 63 ODIs and 49 T20Is for India. He was also named as India’s only seam-bowling all-rounder in the T20 World Cup squad announced on Wednesday.
Not too long ago, there were doubts about Hardik’s bowling after the all-rounder suffered a couple of injury setbacks but his performance in the last Sri Lana tour seems to have erased all of that.
“I don’t look at the result at the end of the day, for me it’s more about the process. As an all-rounder, I have always focused on contributing to all departments. I needed to work on my bowling a lot. When I came in, I didn’t have much idea about what balls to bowl, what variations to have in the armoury. I started from the basics. I worked on my accuracy, bowled on a good length, and with time I was able to learn the variations as well,” Hardik said.