Gujarat Titans (GT) mentor Gary Kirsten commented on Hardik Pandya's captaincy in IPL 2022, saying he remained humble and eager to learn throughout the competition.
GT made its debut this year and was the most dominant side throughout the season, registering 10 wins in 14 matches at the end of the league stage.
GT clashed with Rajasthan Royals (RR) for the championship title on the line at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday (May 29).
Hardik produced one of the most scintillating all-round performances in the finals. With the ball, he took three crucial wickets while conceding only 17 runs in four overs, and with the bat, he scored 34 off 30 balls after the team had lost a couple of early wickets.
The critics at the start of the season were skeptical whether the 28-year-old, who was returning from a back injury, would be able to step in as the captain. He also hadn't bowled in the two preceding IPL seasons, putting pressure on the Titans' skipper as he was tasked with leading the franchise in the 2022 season.
The all-rounder amassed 487 runs in 15 outings at a remarkable average of 44.27, took 8 wickets, and also was a gun fielder throughout the season, demonstrating that he was back at his very best.
"Hardik has been incredibly humble and eager to learn. He batted beautifully, taking responsibility which is different from what we have seen of him in the IPL," Kisten said while speaking to Star Sports.
The World Cup-winning coach further stated that working with head coach Ashish Nehra was an incredibly rewarding experience.
"T20 is a very tactical game. I loved working with Ashish, he is tactically very good. It's an incredible winning in your first season in front of 100,000 people," he added.
The 54-year-old spoke about winning the IPL trophy in front of the home crowd, "Really chuffed. You are looking for balance, depth at the auction but the most important is you need guys who are versatile. We had a strong bowling attack throughout the tournament and towards the end, we even went a bowler extra and a batter light."
On Sunday, Pandya became only the fourth Indian after MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Gautam Gambhir to win an IPL title as captain.
After opting to bat first, the Royals could only manage 130 in 20 overs. In reply, Shubhman Gill and the title-winning captain stitched a 63-run partnership. Shubman batted sensibly in a low-run chase and with a six in the 19th over, took the team over the finish line.
(STAR SPORTS INPUTS)