Rejuvenated Pandya credits forced break for sparkling IPL form
Hardik Pandya has time and again played vital knocks down the order for Mumbai Indians this season. (BCCI Image)

Everyone learns from setbacks and Hardik Pandya, in his own words, is no different as he admitted to have worked on his game and mindset during a forced break which is now paying him rich dividends in the IPL 2019.

In the eye of storm at the start of the year due to his loose talk on a chat show, Hardik was provisionally suspended by the BCCI and the matter is still pending before the Ombudsman even though he is likely to get a clean chit. However, since his comeback in New Zealand, Pandya has shown more focus on the field and has been in tremendous form with the bat for Mumbai Indians with 186 runs at a strike-rate in excess of 191.

“It’s okay, everyone has a setback and for me, I got some time for my body (working on fitness routines) as well. The time I was out is helping me right now because I am in a good mindset and everything is coming right,” Hardik said after powering MI to victory with 37 off 16 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Pandya has been MI’s designated finisher, a role that he relishes. “I have been doing that for the last four years now. That’s my role in any team I play for. I have been practicing at the nets the same thing. It is about the situation. You play according to situation and if you are smart enough, you will more often get the result you desire,” he said.

Selected in India’s 15-member squad for the World Cup starting May 30 in England, Pandya is expected to play a major role for India and the IPL seems to be providing a good preparation for him.

“It is pretty important to always have the confidence behind you. The World Cup is a big stage. It is for the first time that I will be playing (a World Cup). It is important for me to keep hitting the ball well. I was away from the game for some time, so coming back it was important for me to hit well”, he said.

Looking ahead to the World Cup in England, Hardik pointed out that if the conditions were similar to those during the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, India will have the advantage.

“We have to see the conditions because the last time we went, a lot of people told me that it will be swinging, it will be nice and cold but eventually, I have never played on such a flat wickets before,” said Pandya. “It will depend on the situation and the conditions. If it’s the same conditions that we encountered in the Champions Trophy, it will be a help for us”.

Insisting that he will always focus on the basics, irrespective of the event, Pandya mentioned: “Cricket will always be the same. Be it the World Cup or IPL, the pressure will be same. I will follow my basics. That’s what has got success for me and I will keep backing myself that way.”