© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Be it Virat Kohli or Hardik Pandya, everyone is in awe when they meet Sachin Tendulkar for the first time. It is a moment that every cricketer, who grew up on Tendulkar’s genius, lives for. MS Dhoni had agreed that he tried to emulate Tendulkar. Yuvraj Singh is often seen touching Tendulkar’s feet now and then. Kohli bows down every time he meets Tendulkar. Then there is Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary who paints himself in India colours and etches ‘Tendulkar’ on his chest. Everyone, be it Indian or not, are eternally in awe of Tendulkar.

India’s ever-growing all-rounder Pandya shared his version of story on one of the episodes of What The Duck 2 for Viu app. Speaking to humourist Vikram Sathaye, Pandya said, “If you love cricket and don’t worship Sachin, then you don’t love cricket. My moment in seventh heaven was when everyone from the Mumbai Indians met for a get-to-gether and it was my first time, back then. So I was busy eating when suddenly someone taps on my shoulder and turn around to see Sachin standing there saying hi to me. I got so nervous that I just dropped my plate instantly. Later on, Sachin said that if you maintain the form you will start playing for the Indian team within a year or so as luck would have it, within 5 months I was playing for the Indian team.”

What Tendulkar envisaged happened soon. Hardik donned India’s jersey and how. In 12 ODIs he has bagged 265 runs at 53 and 13 wickets at 40.69. In 19 T20Is he has pocketed 100 runs and 15 wickets.

Pandya’s best knock came against Pakistan in ICC Champions Trophy 2017. He blasted 76 off 43 in a losing cause.