Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya turns 26 days and during his brief international career, the Baroda allrounder has already seen the highs and lows of professional cricket and also the frailties fame that has had an impact in his personal life as well. But, what do you know of Hardik Pandya, before he became the poster boy of Indian cricket, sort of. Here’s a look.
Household struggles as a child
The Pandyas financial condition was never good till Hardik got an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract in in 2015 with Mumbai Indians (MI). His family shifted from Surat to Baroda just for the sake of Hardik and his brother Krunal’s cricket training. Hardik used to get paid INR 400 to play for any team.
Failed in 9th standard
During his school days, Hardik could not clear the exams of 9th standard and later left studies to focus only on cricket.
Leg-spin, free coaching
Former Indian cricketer Kiran More did not charge any fee from Hardik and his brother Krunal for first three years in his cricket academy in Baroda. Initially, Hardik used to bowl leg-spin but later he turned towards medium pace and credit of the same goes to More.
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Hardik credits WhatsApp for his spoken English skills and confidence while interacting with people. Hardik once said that reason behind him speaking more confidently in English is WhatsApp.
The West Indian swag
It was Ashish Nehra who first called Hardik a West Indian cricketer. Not because he comes from the western part of country, but because of his personality and nature. Nehra said that Hardik definitely is an all-rounder of the Caribbean mould, on the lines of Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, etc. Technically, Nehra isn’t wrong as Baroda is a region located in Western part of India
Borrowed bats from Irfan Pathan
During his starting days in domestic cricket, Hardik did not have any bat to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy of 2014 but thanks to Irfan Pathan, who gave him his bats after he called on to the left-arm pacer for help.
Spotted by John Wright
In his debut List A season, Hardik quickly impressed the then MI coach John Wright, who later called him for a trial. Just after the trial, he was picked by MI at base price for IPL 2015.
Most expensive first over by a debutant
Hardik got his India cap in the first T20I against Australia on January 26, 2016 at Adelaide Oval. Indian captain MS Dhoni asked him to bowl in the eighth over of the match in which he delivered 11 deliveries because of five wide balls. He conceded 19 runs from his first over, which happens to be the most runs leaked by any bowler in his maiden T20I over. Later, he was given the ball twice and scalped two wickets to his name, which worked as a relief for him after that disastrous first over.
During a Group C match against Delhi in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy of 2016, Hardik smashed a scintillating 81 off just 51 balls and during this course, he made headlines because of scoring 39 runs in an over of Akash Sudan. Hardik went berserk and hammered 39 runs in Sudan’s over which also included a no ball.
Hardik made his IPL debut for MI against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCb), where he scored an impactful 16 runs from six balls, which included only two sixes. He bowled three overs as well but was quite expensive as he conceded 37 runs and went wicketless.