Monday night was going to be vital for Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal. Having emerged as the ace all-rounder across formats and the premier leggie in white-ball cricket respectively for India, the duo had to step up for their IPL franchisees hours after being named in India’s World Cup squad.
While Hardik had yet another exceptional outing, Chahal’s good work in the middle-overs for Royal Challengers was undone by Hardik’s blitzkrieg at the death here at the Wankhede Stadium.
“It is pretty important to always have the confidence behind you. The World Cup is a big stage. It is for the first time I am playing. It is important for me to keep hitting the ball well. I was away from the game for sometime, so coming back, it was important for me to hit well,” Hardik said after guiding MI to a five-wicket win, with an unbeaten 16-ball 37.
Out of the game
For a better part of the last six months, Hardik has been cooling his heels due to a variety of reasons. No doubt the back injury he suffered during the Asia Cup in September had recurred and broken him down frequently. But it was the controversy over his comments about women on a popular television chat show that resulted in him being suspended along with teammate K.L. Rahul.
As a result, while learning the art of managing his body, Hardik — who deposed before the BCCI Ombudsman last week in a bid to put an end to the controversy— Hardik has of late been dealing with a lot off the field.
“It’s okay, everyone has a setback and for me, I got some time for my body as well. The time I was out is helping me right now because I am in a good mindset and everything is coming right,” he said.
Despite his team suffering from Hardik’s wrath on Monday night, Virat Kohli, the RCB and India captain, would be hoping that Hardik carries the same form in England come June.