Hardik Pandya credits MS Dhoni for keeping a cool head
What’s the Story?
Selecting Hardik Pandya for the Test series was a huge gamble on part of the India selectors as he didn’t have an impressive first-class record. However the decision paid dividends as he came out all guns blazing to first register a 86-ball century against Sri Lanka in Kandy.
In a recent interaction with the media, the swashbuckling all-rounder from Baroda spoke about Mahendra Singh Dhoni and how he has helped Pandya keep his cool during the ton.
“(It was the) first time in my life I have not had the 90s butterflies. I don’t remember previous centuries, but I used to have butterflies in my stomach from what I can remember. I have said when I bat I am in a different zone. I don’t think about my personal scores and achievements. It has helped me. One thing I learned from Mahi bhai is that you always put your team ahead, see the scoreboard and play accordingly. That has helped me throughout," Pandya said.
He also talked regarding the way he approached the 26-run over of left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara. “Honestly, I didn’t want to go all out in that over, but I don’t know what happened. Maybe I was connecting pretty well, and scored 26 runs. It obviously feels good. I saw the scoreboard and I was batting on 80, and I was like, wow! Then I felt I was in the zone, I don’t usually look at the scoreboard, I don’t want to know what’s happening around. I just focus on how I can help the innings progress.”- the Mumbai Indians’ batsman added.
In case you didn’t know…
Hardik Pandya carted the Lankan bowlers around, and blazed away to a breezy knock of 108 runs in 96 balls that included eight boundaries and seven monstrous sixes.
Pandya also had an impressive run with the bat in his debut Test when he notched up his maiden half-century in Test match cricket at Galle.
Pandya’s knock also drew praises from former Indian cricketers, with Chief Selector MSK Prasad comparing him with the legendary Kapil Dev.
Pandya replied by saying that he would be delighted if he went to achieve even 10% of the Haryana Hurricane’s accomplishments throughout his career.
India is currently in a commanding position to wrap the Test series up by a margin of 3-0. Sri Lanka will have to bat out of their skins to make India bat again.
However, Pandya has batted well enough to come in the radar of the Indian selectors during India’s upcoming assignments in Test cricket.
Though it is Test cricket, Pandya’s fearless approach with the bat can turn out to be an asset for India, going forward in the format.
However, Pandya still has a long way to go in the longest format of the sport. In alien conditions like that of England, South Africa and Australia, Pandya will have to come good in order to cement his place as a genuine Test all-rounder for India.