Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya is one of the most sought-after all-rounders in white-ball cricket in the current era. However, according to the Baroda cricketer, he became an all-rounder through sheer luck.
Hardik Pandya and former all-rounder, Kapil Dev, participated in the Hindustan Times NxT 2021 on Thursday (September 09). During the discussion, Pandya was asked what led to him becoming an all-rounder.
The 28-year-old responded by saying that he developed his bowling skills while helping out his bowlers manage their workload during U19 cricket. He also revealed that since he didn’t have fast bowling shoes, he used to borrow them from his teammates.
"For me it was simple. I became an all-rounder by luck. When I started bowling, I was helping out my U19 bowlers because they were tired from bowling so much. I was a batsman who used to bat at No.3. I used to borrow their shoes also because I didn’t have fast-bowling shoes,."
Hardik Pandya is one of the crucial members of the Indian white-ball set-up. He provides the balance to the playing XI due to his ability to chip in with the ball as a seamer. While he has struggled to bowl consistently in the recent past due to his persistent back issues, the seam-bowling all-rounder will likely don the role of the 3rd seamer during the T20 World Cup next month.
'I borrowed someone’s shoes and got a five-for' - Hardik Pandya recalls his journey from being a specialist batsman to an all-rounder
Hardik further revealed how he managed to impress his academy coach Sanathh Kumar during a local game.
The Mumbai Indians cricketer recalled that it was his five-wicket-haul in a local game in the absence of regular seamers that impressed Sanathh. A month later, he was inducted into the Ranji squad.
"Sanathh Kumar sir was watching our U19 practice from some 200 meters away. Next day he came to watch our local game, where I played for Kiran More Academy. It was a green top and no fast bowler was available. I borrowed someone’s shoes and got a five-for in that game. That’s why I say it’s luck by chance. Sanath sir then took me a month later in the Ranji Trophy squad. Before that, I didn’t bowl."
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Hardik Pandya has come a long way since. It is fair to say that his role with both bat and ball could well be the decisive factor for Team India in the upcoming T20 World Cup.