Hardik Pandya, who scored 46 runs in India’s fourth T20I against South Africa, revealed that MS Dhoni’s advice early in his career helped him become a better player.
Hardik recently returned to the India squad for the T20I series against South Africa, where he made some critical contributions. His selection followed a sensational IPL season with the Gujarat Titans, where he proved his form and fitness by leading them to the title. In the IPL, Pandya scored 487 runs and took eight wickets.
“For me, genuinely nothing changes because I play (according to the) situation, I play the symbol which is there on my chest. The only thing which I obviously want to get better with time is how smoothly and frequently I keep doing the things I did for Gujarat Titans and for India,” Hardik told fellow teammate Dinesh Karthik in a video posted on BCCI.TV.
“Early in my days, Mahi Bhai taught me one thing. I asked him how do you get away from pressure and everything. And he gave me very simple advice, ‘Stop thinking about your score and start to think of what your team requires’. So, that lesson has stuck in my mind and has helped me become the player that I’m, to play under any situation,” he added.
The most impressive aspect of his game, however, was his leadership abilities, which earned him the Indian captaincy for the two-match T20I series against Ireland later this month.
Pandya has been in good form during the five-match series, scoring 117 runs at a strike rate of 153.94 and averaging 58.50 in four games. His partnership with Dinesh Karthik was critical in India’s competitive total during the fourth T20I in Rajkot, helping them level the series 2-2.
“I need to tell you this, genuinely I want to tell you this, you have given a lot of inspiration to many guys in their life. I remember the conversation you were having when you were not in the scheme of things, a lot of people counted you out,” Hardik praised Dinesh Karthik.
The fifth and final Twenty20 International between India and South Africa will be played on Sunday at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
(Inputs from IANS)