Ever since his international debut in 2016, star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has proved to be indispensable in India’s national team setup. The fact that makes Pandya so unique is that he adds a much-needed balance to the Indian side which allows them the liberty to go for an extra bowler, irrespective of whether it’s in red-ball or white-ball format.
Pandya has so far played 11 Tests in which he has scored 532 runs and taken 17 wickets. Whereas, in 54 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Pandya has added 957 runs and 54 wickets in his account. He has also featured in 40 T20 Internationals (T20Is), where the 26-year-old has smashed 310 runs and bagged 38 wickets.
However, in recent times Hardik wasn’t able to show his magic, the reason being his injury which came during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan in 2018. In that game, Pandya was stretchered off the field after he sustained an acute lower back injury. It all happened in his fifth over when he fell on the ground after bowling the fifth delivery. Pandya looked in significant pain and was unable to get up.
Recalling the incident, Pandya revealed that when he was stretchered off, he thought his career was over.
“I genuinely thought that my career was over because I’d never seen anyone being stretchered off. I was knocked out for 10 minutes, after that the pain never went down,” Pandya told Harsha Bhogle during a chat show on Cricbuzz.
“What happens to me is that my body goes into recovery mode straight away… Asia Cup was anyway going to be my last series before being rested, but then the injury happened,” he added.
Pandya recalls his last over against Bangladesh in 2016 T20 World Cup
Pandya also reminisced the story of 2016 T20 world cup when he bowled the last over in a nail-biting contest against Bangladesh. Harsha asked Hardik to explain the situation after his first three balls in the last over went for nine runs and Bangladesh just needed two more to win.
“I’ll be honest; I didn’t think that what happened was possible. If I was in Mushfiqur’s place, I would have taken a single and secured a win. After the first three balls, I thought what is the most difficult ball if someone wants to take a single? So I believed the back of length is something where hitting is difficult and if you want to single then also it isn’t that easy as one has to play a proper cricketing shot, but he (Mushfiqur) went for a big shot and got out,” Pandya described.
The next ball that Hardik bowled was actually a full-toss, but Mahmadullah in an attempt to go for a glory shot found the fielder and got out. Describing the dismissal, Hardik opined that it was destined to happen and he was lucky.
“It was in destiny; it was supposed to happen. I didn’t do anything special there, I was lucky, and it happened,” the Baroda cricketer added further.
Coming to the last delivery, Bangladesh required just two to win, and Hardik yet again bowled a wide delivery which the batsman missed, and wicket-keeper MS Dhoni ran out Mustafizur Rahman to give India a memorable win.
“Few people gave suggestions like bowling a bouncer, but then we were not up for it because Ashu pa (Ashish Nehra) and Mahi bhai (Dhoni) said that if a tailender try to swing it and the ball gets a top edge so it might go over the keeper, so Mahi bhai said to go for the back of a length delivery outside off stump, and we won,” concluded Pandya.