“MS Dhoni played a big role…”: Hardik Pandya praises former India captain

Star Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya said on Wednesday that legendary wicketkeeper MS Dhoni played a huge part in his growth. Hardik Pandya has received a lot of acclaim this year, be it for his great all round bat and ball show or his captaincy which helped Gujarat Titans achieve their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season. “I was just a new kid trying to learn new things about life and sports. MS Dhoni has played a big part in my growth. Whenever I got the chance, I observed him and learned things,” Pandya said on Star Sports .

“The kind of mindset and knowledge he had just by observing it is reflected in my personality on the pitch,” he added.

Pandya said that he always wanted to have responsibility because when someone owns something, it becomes more personal to him.

“It was about acknowledging my mistakes, taking my chances, failing and learning from them. Sometimes failures teach you, not your neighbor, not your help and to some extent even Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). Some failures, you just experience them and you learn from them,” he added.

Pandya said his failures helped him better understand his role and find out what roles he is good at, how he could get better at his roles.

The star all-rounder, who turns 29 in October, said the last four years of his life were his most important.

“I can’t put into words all the way things took shape. It was a learning phase for me,” he added.

On the art of finishing, Pandya said that the good finishing of the lower order or finisher is important.

“You could go to a restaurant, the food could be great, but if there’s no finishing touch, it doesn’t add charm to the dish, however it tastes. Looks are important. It’s similar in game, no no matter how close you get, how well balanced you are, how strong you are, if you don’t get the final hand from your lower order or finisher, it won’t look complete,” he said.

Pandya returned to his fully fit avatar in 2022 after dealing with fitness issues over the years to lead Gujarat Titans to their first India Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season.

Throughout the season, Pandya led his squad from the front with his all-around show, scoring 487 runs at an average of 44.27 in 15 games and hitting four fifties. He also took eight wickets for his side, including a match-winning 3/17 in the final.

Since then he has shown exceptional form for India in T20Is and has taken many crucial strokes whether as an aggressor or an anchor. In T20Is this year, Pandya scored 314 runs in 13 innings in 14 games with an average of 34.88.

He scored half a century and several other crucial blows. He has also taken 11 wickets for his side in 14 matches with the best bowling figures of 4/33.

Also in three ODIs he has taken 100 runs in two innings in three games with an average of 50, with one fifty and the best score of 71. He has also taken six wickets in these three games, with the best figures of 4/24 .

Pandya remains a key player for Team India in the upcoming ICC World T20 2022, which will take place from October-November this year.

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