When Sachin Tendulkar foresaw Hardik Pandya’s meteoric rise as a cricketer
What’s the story?
All-rounder Hardik Pandya has revealed that it was the great Sachin Tendulkar who had recognised his talent before anyone else. Tendulkar had told Pandya that he would take only “one or one-and-a-half-years” to break into the Indian cricket team.
During an episode of What the Duck season 2, Pandya said, “I hadn’t made my debut then and was in Hyderabad for a do-or-die clash and we were all a bit tense. He (Tendulkar) walked up to me and suddenly said, ‘Meet me later, I need to tell you something’.
“However, it was in Mumbai when I could speak to him. I saw him at the warm-up session and since I didn’t know what he wanted to tell me, I was extremely curious. He started by appreciating me for the way I was playing, before stating ‘I shouldn’t be telling you this but the way you’re playing and the potential you have in yourself, you should be playing for India in a year or one-and-a-half.’”
In case you didn’t know…
Until about two years back, Pandya was just another Mumbai Indians youngster who was known for playing handy knocks down the order. However, unlike several other cricketers grinding the domestic circuit, Pandya’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric.
In October last year, he made his ODI debut and impressed one and all. In the 12 ODI matches he has featured in so far, Pandya has scored 265 runs at an average of 53.00 and has claimed 13 wickets.
The heart of the matter
In the episode, Pandya also revealed how it was like meeting the great Sachin Tendulkar for the first time and how he was left dazed for about 20-25 minutes. After that, it did not take long for Tendulkar to identify what an asset Pandya could be for the national team.
The 23-year-old youngster further spoke about how he called up his brother Krunal Panya and told what Tendulkar had just said to him. Apparently, for his family members, it did not even matter after that if he played for the national team or not.
Interestingly, though, Pandya did make his debut for the national team less than six months after this incident.
Having played the game at the top-most level for nearly 25 years, it certainly is easier for Sachin Tendulkar to identify young talent. However, the way he talked to the young Hardik and instilled in him, self-confidence and belief, is admirable in itself.