Hardik Pandya © IANS
Hardik Pandya © IANS

Mumbai: Hard-hitting Baroda batsman Hardik Pandya wants to carry the form he’s currently showing in the domestic circuit into the upcoming three-game T20 series in Australia for which he has been picked by the selectors. “Obviously when you get into the national side the confidence level goes very high. I knew I’ll get picked for the Australia series, so I had to put in more hard work in the practice sessions. So even that helped me a lot. The kind of form I’ve had in this tournament, I’m going (hoping) to carry it in Australia,” said the rookie after smashing 86 not out with eight sixes in 46 balls against Vidarbha. “I’ve been batting quite well in the league stages so I had to carry on with that form. One batsman should play till the end and I’m doing the role for Baroda. ALSO READ: Hardik Pandya smashes 39 runs in an over to surpass T20 world record in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2015-16

“I was very happy when I was asked to bat at No. 3. I’m a proper batsman and I’ve always batted at No. 3. I’ve said this during IPL as well that if I take a few balls, I can cover it. In today’s game as well, I started slowly and then shifted the gears,” he said.

Pandya said last season’s stint in the high-profile Indian Premier League for the Ricky Ponting-coached Mumbai Indians, the eventual champions, had helped a lot in his career which is on an upward curve presently. “The experience and exposure you get in IPL is quite amazing. You get to meet Ricky Ponting and practice with him. ALSO READ — Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy 2015-16: Baroda earn hard-fought 9-run win over Railways

Even if I would have played for India, I don’t think he would have come and bowled at me. IPL has been a tremendous confidence booster for me. It helped me grow as a cricketer as well. “He [Ponting] always tells the same thing that I need to keep working hard. Even (MI icon) Sachin (Tendulkar) said the same thing that you should keep working hard and the results will come,” Pandya said.

He said the ability to hit a flurry of sixes was built by him brick by brick. “I ve been a proper batsman and I always had to bat at No. 3. My game was always about timing my shots. Later on, I added some power. When I was 16, I used to hardly clear 30 yards, but I still had the confidence to try and hit it over the fielder.”