IPL 2022: “I warned him that he would get injured”, Akhtar recalls interaction with Pandya

Hardik Pandya is leading Gujarat Titans in the ongoing IPL season.

Hardik Pandya | BCCI-IPL

Gujarat Titans (GT), led by the swashbuckling all-rounder Hardik Pandya, made their debut in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The franchise has had a terrific start to the season, winning five of its first six games and sitting atop the points table.

The Titans started their campaign with a win over another newbie, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 5 wickets, and on Sunday (April 17), GT defeated the 4-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 3 wickets at the MCA Stadium in Pune. One of the most important factors in the team's success is the captain's ability to lead from the front.

SEE ASLO: "We didn’t execute our plans," Ravindra Jadeja after CSK's 3-wicket loss to GT

Pandya, this season has compiled 228 runs in 5 matches, and he has also been very economical with the ball.

Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar, while speaking to Sportskeeda, heaped praises on Hardik’s performance saying that he’s a potential choice to lead his national side in the limited-overs format.

“Hardik Pandya can be the biggest brand in Indian cricket. He wants to be recognised as one of the key cricketers of India," he said.

“By being the captain of the Gujarat Titans he is now showing the Indian team management that he can be a potential choice as India’s T20 skipper as well in the future. I would dearly want him to become India’s T20I skipper in the future,” he added.

Akhtar further recalled meeting Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya and warning them about their fragile back.

“I had told Jasprit Bumrah in Dubai and even Hardik Pandya. They were lean like birds. They didn’t have back muscles. Even now, I have such good strong back muscles behind my shoulders” 

"I touched his (Hardik) back, muscles were there but very lean. So, I warned him that he would get injured. But he said that he has been playing a lot of cricket. He got injured in the same match” Shoaib said.

Hardik missed the recent match against CSK due to a groin injury and Rashid Khan was appointed as the stand-in captain. They will next take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday (April 23) at the Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.




By Abhishek Ghan - 18 Apr, 2022

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