In IPL 2022, Pandya has been impressive in captaining Gujarat to be the only unbeaten team in the tournament while making 91 runs with the bat and picking two wickets with his pace bowling. The side will be hoping to extend their clean slate when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad at the DY Patil Stadium on Monday.
“He seems to be relishing his role as a captain and leading the team from the front. He’s performing with the bat for Gujarat Titans and has also started bowling well which are good signs for Team India as well. Look, he aims to make his India comeback and if he can start giving those five-six overs with the ball then it will be a big positive for the national side because they’ll need a player of his calibre in the T20 World Cup in Australia.”
“I believe that the responsibility of leading a team will only make Hardik a better player, a better captain, and a better person. Something similar happened with Rohit Sharma as well,” said Harbhajan on Cricket Live show on Star Sports.
Former India cricketer and head coach Ravi Shastri too felt that Gujarat stand as favourites to win Monday’s match against Hyderabad and signalled leg-spinner Rashid Khan to do well against his former IPL franchise.
“The favourite will be Gujarat Titans. Because the way they have played is better than Sunrisers Hyderabad. Sunrisers Hyderabad won the last match so they might build momentum from here but the favourite will be Gujarat Titans. Rashid will want to perform well against Hyderabad. Not only that but he’ll want to win against Hyderabad.”
In further praise of Pandya, Harbhajan applauded his hard work and dedication for fulfilling his father’s dream of playing for India and declared him a role model for several aspiring cricketers.
“Hardik’s hard work and dedication to fulfil his father’s dream (to play cricket for India) is inspiring. He has shown what one can achieve through perseverance. Hardik is representing every person who wishes to rise from the bottom and make a mark for himself.”