India’s white-ball tour of Sri Lanka ended with the third and final T20I on Thursday (July 29) in Colombo.
While the Shikhar Dhawan-led young Indian side clinched the ODI series 2-1, they suffered a 2-1 defeat in the three-T20I series after COVID-19 scare forced the visitors to not field their first-choice XI.
Apart from some stunning display of cricket, the series grabbed the attention for a heart-warming gesture involving Hardik Pandya and Chamika Karunaratne.
Ahead of the opening T20I, Hardik gifted his bat to Karunaratne, who considers the Indian all-rounder his hero.
In an interview posted on the official Twitter handle of Island Cricket, Karunaratne revealed that he is a huge fan of Pandya and he approached India batsman Suryakumar Yadav to meet his idol.
“Yes, I love him(Pandya). Suryakumar Yadav was the one who helped me for that. I just went and asked him, I like to talk to Hardik Pandya and I love to take a bat from him. And he said just go for it, he will definitely give you. And, when he told me, I said No no, and he was like, ask for it, and Yadav said to Hardik in Hindi that he is asking for a bat.
“He( Pandya) asked me first time you want a bat. I said no the first time, then after that he asked me you want a bat, and I was like, yes please. He gave me the bat, and he is a very nice human being,” Karunaratne said.
Speaking on the advice he received from Hardik Pandya, the Sri Lankan cricketer said: “He(Pandya) talked to me and messaged me saying play the game and be disciplined. Day by day improve yourself, learn and play the game the way you are playing and he told me so many things. And thanks to him. He was a role model for me because six to eight months ago I had a really hard time and I was looking at his Instagram pictures and videos and the way he is training.”
“I think he was a role model for me and I am thanking him again for giving me a lovely bat to be honest. I think it is an A Grade bat, and we do not get that quality bat, so I am really happy to get a bat from him,” he further remarked.
Here’s the video: