“You have to stay in the battle”: Hardik Pandya breaks silence on IPL 2024 setback as MI captain

Hardik failed to create an impact in his first season as the Mumbai Indians captain.

Hardik Pandya | GettyAhead of the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hardik Pandya, who completed a high-profile trade from Gujarat Titans (GT) to Mumbai Indians (MI), replaced Rohit Sharma as skipper of the five-time champions.

However, the all-rounder failed to create an impact as captain. The five-time champions finished the season at the bottom of the points table and became the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs race.

On a personal front, Hardik endured a disappointing campaign with both bat and ball for MI, scoring just 216 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 143.05 without a half-century. While he managed to claim 11 wickets, it came an average of 35.18 and an economy rate of 10.75.

Days before the start of India’s T20 World Cup 2024 campaign, Hardik Pandya broke his silence on his terrible time in the recently held IPL, saying that he was not the one to run away from a fight.

“You have to stay in the battle. Sometimes life puts you in situations where things are tough, but I believe that if you leave the game or the field, the battle that is, you won't get what you want from your sport, or the results you are looking for," Hardik told Star Sports in an exclusive chat.

"So, yeah, it has been difficult, but at the same time, I have been process-driven, I have tried to follow the same routines I used to follow earlier,” he added.

Pandya said good and bad times are part of life, and it was not something that he experienced for the first time.

“These things happen; there are good times and bad times, these are phases that come and go. That is fine. I have gone through these phases many times and I will come out of it as well. I don't take my successes too seriously. Whatever I have done well, I have forgotten about them immediately and moved forward. Same with difficult times. I don't run away from it. I face everything with [my] chin up,” the 30-year-old stated.

"As they say, this too shall pass. So coming out [of these phases] is simple: just play the sport, accept that [you need to] maybe get better at your skillset, keep working hard - hard work never goes to waste - and keep smiling,” he further remarked.

Hardik Pandya smashed a rapid 40* off just 23 balls against Bangladesh in India’s only T20 World Cup 2024 warm-up match in New York on June 1. He also picked up a wicket in his three overs as India won the game by 60 runs.

"I think it comes down to self-belief. I believe a lot in hard work. You can succeed only if you put in the effort for it. I want to give myself the opportunity toâ€æ why do I prepare and commit myself every time? The only reason is that while I am not guaranteed success, I am guaranteed an opportunity to be successful. I focus simply on how do I keep getting better. Speak to myself. Try to know my real version,” Pandya said.

The Indian T20I vice-captain concluded by saying that his 16-year-old version was his real motivator and he owed it to him to constantly work hard.

"Hardik Pandya right now at 30 is a much, much easier job compared to what Hardik Pandya was when I was 16. So I go back to the 16-year-old and I ask him how did you do it, why did you do it? At that point of time, I didn't have facilities or opportunities. Hard work gave me opportunities and opened doors for me. So I am in that zone right now [where] I am going and asking the 16-year-old - because he is my actual motivator, because if that guy hadn't set the platform I probably wouldn't have been here,” he signed off.


By Salman Anjum - 02 Jun, 2024

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