NEW DELHI: When India played against Pakistan in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai last year, more questions were asked about Hardik PandiaThe inclusion in the squad was in that he mainly played as a hitter. He was not bowling at the time, and the failure to hit the club added fuel to the fire. 10 months later, against the same opposition and in the same venue, Hardik showed why he was once labeled as India’s next Kapil Dev when he first exploded onto the international stage.
Hardik was often criticized for not playing a handyman role when the team needed him most. But since returning from injury to the national team in June this year, playing at full speed again, Hardik has emerged as a serious match winner with both bat and ball ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia. For many he is currently the most valuable player on the Indian team.

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AP photo
The flamboyant 28-year-old cricketer looks much more relaxed and submissive now. He lets the bat and the ball do the talking and continues to silence his critics with his performances of him. Hitter Hardik’s ability to take bowlers to the laundry is no secret, but his rebirth as a bowler seems to have solved India’s problem of having a well-rounded bowling rhythm. The inclusion of him adds a lot of balance to the team, giving Rohit Sharma that crucial extra option, something Pakistan did not have in Sunday’s match against India.

A fully recovered Hardik can now generate pace at will and has consistently launched over 140km / h. He also has several variations, including a powerful and fast short ball in his arsenal that rushed and upset Pakistani hitters in Sunday’s Asian Cup match.

Hardik made a well-rounded effort in the match, first returning 3 out of 25 figures and then held his nerve in the biting chase, scoring 33 unbeaten out of 17 balls. The way he finished the game with a six was another reminder of how confident he is in his abilities.
His confidence was shown when he nodded to his partner Dinesh Karthik after the third ball of the last over of the Indian inning, thrown by Mohammad Nawaz, landed. It was a message to say: “Don’t worry, I have everything under control”.

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Image credit: BCCI
Life in a way returned to square one for Hardik on Sunday. It was in the same place where he was put on a stretcher off the pitch in a 2018 Asian Cup group match against Pakistan.
“I remembered it all. I was going out on a stretcher and it was the same locker room,” Pandya said after the match against Pakistan on Sunday. “I feel a sense of accomplishment in how things have turned out and in the way I have had this opportunity.
Pandya recognized that staying calm in tense situations helps him carry out all his plans.

“All these years I have realized that if I stay as calm as possible, it will help me carry out all my plans,” said the 28-year-old after winning the Man of the Match award for his 33 * off 17 balls and 3/25. “The 50-50 chances I take, if I’m calmer, help me make it.”
Pandya said he was clear on how to carry out the chase and knew the pressure was greatest on the bowler at that stage.

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“We only needed 7 on the last over, but even if we needed 15, I would have imagined (my chances). I know the bowler is under more pressure than me in the 20th over. I try to keep it simple.” said Pandia.
Since his return to the national team, Hardik has developed, in many ways, into a more mature cricketer, very keenly aware of the role he should play. He has played a pivotal role in the Indian team’s recent victories against South Africa, England, Ireland and the West Indies. In many ways Hardik 2.0 was also shown in the latest edition of the IPL.
Since June 9 this year, Hardik has played 14 T20Is and 3 ODI.
During this period, in the shortest format, Hardik scored 314 points, with an average of 34.88 and an impressive strike rate of 144.03. In the same period he brought his name to him 11 wickets. In the three ODI he has played since his return, Hardik has scored 100 points and taken six wickets.

The world witnessed Hardik Pandya 2.0 as he led Indian Premier League rookies Gujarat Titans to a fairytale title win in May. He led his team from the front with 487 points and eight wickets in 15 games that earned him a recall for June’s Twenty20 series against South Africa.
It is this new version of Hardik, a potential future captain of India for many experts, that fans would like to see more of in the near future, especially at the next edition of the ICC T20 World Cup – a tournament that India has failed to achieve. win a second time, since winning the title of the inaugural edition in 2007, under the talismanic MS Dhoni.



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