Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More has revealed that Hardik Pandya was "very disturbed" during his time away from the Indian cricket team. Pandya along with KL Rahul was suspended by BCCI and CoA over controversial comments on the popular TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’.
More, who has mentored Pandya during his formative years at Baroda, also said that the all-rounder has learnt from his mistakes and is focussing on cricket wholeheartedly now.
"Absolutely [was expecting him to make an immediate impact on comeback]. He is a very talented cricketer, no doubt about it. He had no bad intentions at all. The chat show incident happened. That's what shows the character of the cricketer. He is a cricketer who works very hard and gives his 100% whenever he plays for his teams. Happy he has made a huge comeback,” More quoted as saying by India Today.
"Definitely, he was very disturbed [during the Koffee With Karan row]. Good, he has made a huge impact straight away," he added.
Pandya was immediately included in the playing XI after the CoA lifted the suspension on him. Amidst the anticipation, Hardik made a noteworthy comeback as he claimed two wickets in the third ODI and followed it with an impressive all-round performance in the fifth match. Thanks to Pandya's breathtaking 22-ball 45, India were able to post 252 after being reduced to 18/4 in the final ODI. Later, he dismissed Ross Taylor (1) and Mitchell Santner(22) as the Men in Blue bundled out the hosts for 217 to clinch the series 4-1.
"He just went for an interview and talked something. And it went out of control. It's part of life. You learn when you make a mistake. Now he will definitely know what he needs to do in the future. He has realised that. He has also apologised to the BCCI,” More asserted.
"Now, he is clear about his cricket. His focus is on cricket and he showed how much he wants to play for India in New Zealand. The suspension for him was like getting dropped from the India team. For him, it was like he was trying to make a comeback. He and Rahul both of them have realised they made mistakes. He is mentally so strong and it has shown with the way he has made the comeback," he further remarked.
More pointed out that Pandya’s all-round ability provides the much-needed balance to Virat Kohli's team who are among the leading contenders to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.
"It [Pandya's comeback] is good for Team India as well. He gives a good balance and a key member of the team. At the World Cup, I am sure, he is going to be a very important player for India. An all-rounder like him is what we need. He can bat the way he has been batting in the death overs. He can bowl and he can take those catches. You don't get players like this often," he said.