SA series, an opportunity for me to show what I’ve worked hard for: Hardik

Now, in a video posted by the BCCI, Pandya expressed his feelings about coming back to the India T20I team after being last seen in the national side during the 2021 World Cup

Hardik Pandya

Despite India losing the first T20I to South Africa by seven wickets at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday, they had some positives on the batting front, putting up a score of 211-4. Amongst them, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik were making a comeback to the T20I side.

While Karthik played just two balls, Pandya provided the finishing touches with his wristy strokeplay in making an unbeaten 31 off 12 balls, laced with two fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 258.33. Now, in a video posted by the BCCI, Pandya expressed his feelings about coming back to the India T20I team after being last seen in the national side during the 2021 World Cup.

“Playing for the country has always been special, especially after a long break. I’m coming back fresh and am very excited to be back. It gives me the opportunity to show exactly what I’ve worked hard for. Doing well for the country is more important, and it gives me immense pleasure. [I’m] Just looking for some positives and exciting days ahead,” said Pandya.

The all-rounder returned to the Indian team after leading Gujarat Titans to the IPL-15 title at their home ground in Ahmedabad, shining with an all-round performance of 3-17 with the ball and 34 with the bat.

Also Read: IND vs SA: Bhuvneshwar Kumar talks up India’s chances to bounce back and win series 

“I was happy. But for me, it was more about the battles I won against my own self and a lot of other things as well. Winning the IPL, or to even qualifying [for playoffs] was a big deal for me because a lot of people doubted us. A lot of people frowned at us before we started. A lot of people raised a lot of questions. A lot of things were said for me even before I made a comeback. It was never about giving them answers,” recalled Pandya.

He elaborated on the routine he followed during his time off from the Indian team. “I’m just proud of the process I followed. No one knows what I exactly went through during the six months that I was off.

“I have woken up at 5 in the morning to make sure that I train and then make sure that I train for the second time at 4pm. So, to give myself enough rest, I’ve slept at 9:30 in the night during those months. A lot of sacrifices were made, but for me, it was the battle that I fought before I played the IPL.

“After seeing the result, it was more satisfying for me as a cricketer. I’ve worked hard honestly, genuinely and it has always given me results. And that’s the reason that I don’t get very excited when I do something special. Because it’s not particularly about that day of the moment and it’s rather about the journey.”

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