T20I series aftermath: I think like a batsman when I bowl, says Hardik Pandya
Indian all-rounder gives a peek into his mindset while bowling in T20 format
Though it was Rohit Sharma's scintillating century that hogged the limelight to help India clinch the T20I series in a commanding display, the contribution of all-rounder Hardik Pandya cannot be discounted.
Skipper Virat Kohli had gracious words for the Baroda lad, whose stature in international cricket is rising by each superlative performance. Kohli said: "He (Pandya) is a really good all-round cricketer, very confident, and the way he picked up those wickets is what you want to see in younger guys. "He then delivers with the bat. Rohit was obviously very special, but Hardik was the standout performer."
The Indian think-tank, especially Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have been backing Pandya to the hilt for the last couple of years. He was their blue-eyed boy during last year's Champions Trophy in the UK.
In the final against Pakistan at the Oval, he nearly pulled off a heist after India were in a hopeless situation while chasing. Pandya was unfortunately run out in a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja. Since then, Jadeja has been out of white-ball cricket, while Pandya has risen by leaps and bounds.
Pandya was candid in his assessment on his progress: "I'm always learning from the game. I make sure I keep learning from my mistakes, which is helping my game. We have a fantastic support staff and leaders, who are giving us immense confidence to express ourselves. We are just going out there and enjoying the game rather than thinking what's going to happen."
Keeping it simple
Pandya said his variations helped him make a strong comeback after giving away 22 runs in his first over. "My focus was to bowl different balls and keep it simple rather than just go for yorkers, because the shortest boundary was the straight one. So, if I missed my yorker, it would go (in that direction). In the shortest format, I think like a batsman. Generally, batsmen are going to go hard at the bowler in this (T20) format. So, I try to think as a batsman and try to outplay them.
"In the first over, I wanted to give less runs, but it doesn't matter. In the end, even if I give 50 runs and don't take a wicket, and if the team wins, I am more than happy. I don't play for my own performance," he said.
There is no doubt that Pandya is a thinking cricketer and if he keeps up the rapid strides he is taking, he will surely emerge as a vital cog in the team's plans, be it in white-ball cricket or in the longer format of the game.
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