Hardik Pandya’s career was in the crossroads at the start of the year. He had appeared on the show Koffee With Karan hosted by popular Bollywood director Karan Johar and his comments on the show were labeled ‘sexist’, ‘misogynistic’ and ‘racist’. Hardik was suspended for the Australia tour and an Ombudsman was appointed to look into Hardik’s comments. His suspension was lifted by the BCCI and a clean chit is expected from the Ombudsman. Hardik made a mark in the series in New Zealand but in the 2019 Indian Premier League, he has been in magnificent form. Hardik has chipped in with some crucial knocks at the end, including a blazing 25 against Chennai Super Kings and a crucial 32 off 15 balls against Delhi Capitals.
The efforts by Hardik with both bat and ball in the game against Chennai Super Kings won him the Man of the Match award and he received yet another award for his game-changing 32 off 15 balls against Delhi Capitals. Speaking in the post-match press conference, Hardik’s brother Krunal Pandya heaped praise on his brother and said the time he spent away from the game helped him immensely.
“When he was away from the game due to injury and the other reasons (controversy), he worked a lot on his fitness. We started playing the game together and one thing that I can say that cricket has always been his priority. Honestly, there are very few players who have a work ethic like him. His goal is always to improve and if you do that, you become consistent,” Krunal Pandya said.
Krunal said that Hardik is adding a new dimension to his game every year and that he is also learning from him. “Earlier he used to smash spinners, now he is also doing the same to pacers. He worked on that area during the off time he got and he has gotten the desired results. What like I most about is never giving up attitude. Every year, he is adding something or the other to his game. In fact, I have also learned a lot from him,” Krunal said.
The left-handed Krunal and Hardik blasted 50 runs in the final three overs against Delhi Capitals and the all-rounder acknowledged the assault was the key. “I guess while batting it was a very tricky wicket. When I went inside and when Hardik came in we were not aiming for 170, we thought 145 was a good total on this wicket. The way Hardik batted, it changed the momentum for us and we ended up with those extra runs. While bowling we knew how the wicket would behave and our bowlers knew to how to bowl on it,” Hardik said.