Probuddha Bhattacharjee ∙ Oct 11 2022, 9:04 AM

Hardik Pandya: The master of comebacks

image-l93z6cb5Hardik Pandya (PC: AP NEWSROOM)

Hardik Pandya is a name that needs no introduction to the cricket followers. He is a  multidimensional all-rounder who is always involved with the game when he is out in the field. 

Besides his physical presence in the field, Hardik has also shown that he is mentally a tough nut to break. Off the field controversies, injuries, he has seen it all and yet kept himself an inevitable part of the Indian set up. 

The Rise

In 2015, Hardik made his first appearance for the Mumbai Indians in IPL. Within a season and two he became the talk of the town with his all-round capabilities. As time progressed Hardik gradually became an inevitable part of the Mumbai lower-middle order with his hard hitting capabilities.  His bowling also impressed the selectors and he got his maiden India call-up in 2016.  

image-l93y0of9Hardik Pandya's season wise performance in IPL 

The Dip

By the end of 2019 Hardik Pandya was already and important part of the Mumbai Indian's team and also the Indian national team. But as we know cricket is a great leveller and when there is a rise there is also a fall. 

image-l93yqcu8Injuries plagued Hardik's career (PC: Twitter)

Injuries started to plague Hardik's career when it seemed like he was reaching his peak. Being on and off the action started effecting his form and very soon clouds started looming over a promising career. 

The back injury took a toll on Hardik's bowling and with that aspect of his game missing he was merely half the player. 2021 turned out to be his worst year in IPL after 2016 and India also started to move on. The fact that the national team management started to look at options like Venkatesh Iyer was an ominous sign for the Gujarat born all-rounder. 

The re-incarnation

image-l93yrrecHardik Pandya led GT to IPL title from the front (PC: Twitter)

When all was looking dark for Hardik, he decided not to give up and grind harder. Rehabilitation, training and getting fitter was what he concentrated on. His hard work paid off as the new franchise of Gujarat Titans picked him up as the leader of the team. 

This was just the opportunity that he was waiting for. He led the team from the front and took them to their maiden IPL title in the debut season. Hardik himself scored 487 runs in the tournament at and average of 44.27.  Also, he adapted to a completely different role of batting up the order and played it to perfection. 

The IPL 2022 was the prefect answer to all the critics who were writing Pandya off. His mesmerising performance saw him return to the Indian mainframe. And with the T20I World Cup 2022 coming up, Hardik will be an inevitable part of the journey of the 'Men in Blue'. 

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