"When I can't enjoy the game, there is no point of playing" - Hardik Pandya after winning PoM in 1st T20I vs England
Hardik Pandya starred with both bat and ball as Team India thumped England by 50 runs in the first T20I at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Thursday.
The ace all-rounder has been spectacular since his return to competitive cricket after a long hiatus. He led the Gujarat Titans (GT) to their maiden IPL trophy in 2022 during their debut campaign and has carried that form into international cricket.
Following the match-winning performance, the 28-year-old highlighted the difficulties he had to endure during the four-five month break to make sure his body was in the right motion.
Throwing light on the troublesome period at the post-match presentation ceremony, he said:
"I'm enjoying my cricket right now and that is more important. A lot of time goes behind the scenes with my preparation to ensure my body is alright. Because I took a long break I wanted to make sure my rhythm was alright and it is."
The all-rounder added:
"That was a conscious decision taken by myself when I decided that I wanted some time off from the game. When I can't enjoy the game, there's no point of Hardik Pandya playing. For me, it was about the effort and the intensity. When I got that, it felt very satisfying."
The Baroda all-rounder had a troubled back and had to undergo surgery that affected his career. He had a difficult time in 2021 and was sidelined as a result of that. However, he worked extremely hard to make a superlative return and the results are there for everyone to see.
After a brisk start by the Indian openers, Hardik Pandya kept the momentum going and didn't allow the English bowlers to apply pressure. He scored 51 off just 33 balls to propel India to 198 in their 20 overs.
He followed it up with a match-winning spell, returning with figures of 4/33 to take the hosts out of the game. Debutant Arshdeep Singh and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal also made significant contributions as India successfully defended the target.
"It helps enchance my game" - Hardik Pandya on taking responsibility
Hardik Pandya has thrived well when given the added responsibility. He looked like a different cricketer altogether since he was appointed captain of Gujarat Titans (GT).
The ace all-rounder revealed that he has always been someone who likes to take responsibility. Pandya added:
"I've always been an individual who likes taking responsibility. It helps enchance my game. Having the captain's tag helps my responsibility but I always take up that responsibility on the field."
He will hope to continue the good work as India eye the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, scheduled to take place in Australia later this year.
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