Hardik Pandya once said in an interview in the year 2017 that he has learned one thing with time and that if he needs to be understood by the people, he has to take a more balanced approach rather than just being Himself. It was a time where he was at the peak of his career and the best form and was on his way to take on the world. His power hitting was breathtaking and had begun to bowl consistently at over 140 kph.
But this kind of response was way more associated with his apparent “attitude problem,” that had chased him in the early stages of the career. What one can learn about the al prouder who hails from Baroda, is that he is a young man who is inclined towards learning, adapting, changing and most importantly to be more balanced. Till almost a year ago, Pandya was the individual who wanted to quote himself as the” I am myself” kind o the batsmen.
One who wants to follow nothing, but only his instincts in the middle, very often disregarding the scenario of the match or the situation. There are many ways where many expected of him this way but unfortunately could not live up to those expectations. These were till he landed in Australia about three weeks ago as a specialist batsman, whose body was in progress to get his body fit bowl again.
Pandya has managed to show that balance with the bat in hand. He does not simply rely on his natural craving or his incredible skill to go against the bowlers. Instead of getting too vulnerable, he has cultivated the mindset of structured batsmen, wanting to build innings. He now waits for the bowlers to come to him. Scoring 210 runs at an average of 105 and a striking average of 114.75. he has replied to the world that after being stated as the rockstar of cricket, he has gone to the extent of taking stock.
Till lately, Pandya’s batting was quite the way he went with his life, based on the interview held before the Champions trophy. He was once asked “ If you can get success at 23, why do you want to wait till 25? If I get what I am going to get at 28 at 25, then I am happy with that. That means I am going to get better things at 28.” The 27 years old was describing his age at one point, but that quote could be referenced in the manner in which Pandya has gone about his batting in limited-overs cricket. It doesn’t mean he has not worked. But at the start, when he is getting more patient and is waiting to pick and make the choice of having his moments, the right-hander discovered that he is in a position to get better things.
A great example has just taken place a few days ago during the third ODI held on Wednesday, 2nd December. First, he came in to bat, when India was losing the way in the middle overs with half their side back to the pavilion. He also witnessed Virat Kohli head back to the pavilion after a pedantic half-century. With 18 overs left to go, he was partnered with Ravindra Jadeja who helped him resurrect the innings. Glenn Maxwell had come to the ball, that Pandya considers as old bait.
At this point, Aaron Finch was trying to get a wicket cheaply with the least specialist bowler. This was also the stage when Pandya was pacing his innings at a strike rate of 66.66 and India was on a verge of a good build-up. 10 runs were scored off the spinner in 8 balls and all the runs obtained were risk-free, the inclusion of a boundary that came off when Maxwell bowled a full-length delivery on his pad and was picked up from out of the leg stump.
Pandya‘s confidence was always in his power-hitting ability and it has been in his blood to go after any ball that is pitched in the hitting zone. Having done this throughout the series, he was satisfied with not going after the jugular too early. The most exciting fact about him to add to his batting credentials for India is the facts he will be back in being a fully-fledged all-rounder, but also complained about him being a bit bruised after his spell of 4 over sat the SCG on Sunday, that resulted in him in not being able to ball in Manuka Oval.
His growth has also come in terms of batting commonsense that one wonders if India could take him back as a reserve batsman for the tests in the absence of captain Kohli.