Having claimed his maiden five wicket-haul on Day 2 of the third Test at Trent Bridge against England and responding brilliantly to the widespread criticism that he has gone through recently, Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has said that he doesn't care what the world outside the Indian dressing room says.
Pandya used the swing and seam conducive conditions very well to his and India's advantage and ran through the English middle and lower order. His spell of 5-28 gave the visitors a 168 runs lead, that they stretched to 292 by the end of day's play.
"I am happier with taking five wicket-haul than scoring a hundred. Because I've hardly done this. This is probably the second five-for of my life. It's come in an important situation and so I'm happy," he said after the second day's play at Trent Bridge." said Pandya.
He was further quoted saying at the press conference as, "First of all, I don't play for them (his critics). They are getting paid for saying things which I don't want to know about and I don't even care what they say. I play for my country. I don't care what they say. It's their job to say and it's my job to play for my country. I'm doing the right thing. My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters,"
When he got asked about the comparisons with the great Kapil Dev, Pandya clarified bluntly what he feels of it and said, "Sir the problem is this...What happens is they compare, fine. But all of a sudden when something goes wrong they say, 'He is not that'. I never wanted to be Kapil Dev. Let me be Hardik Pandya, I'm good at being Hardik Pandya. I've come so far -- playing 40 ODIs and 10 Tests -- being Hardik and not Kapil Dev. He was great in his era. Let me be Hardik Pandya. Stop comparing me with anyone. I'll be happy if you don't."
Pandya also revealed a funny moment that he shared with Ishant Sharma.
"[He played a] big role. Ishant and I keep on talking. As a bowling unit we keep on talking. Because the captain has a lot on his plate. Ishy was telling me, 'Don't go for wickets. If you bowl in the right areas, you'll get wickets.' That's the same thing I tell him and the other bowlers as well: 'Keep it tight, let's check their patience'." he concluded.
(Inputs from SPORTSTAR Live)