I don’t consider IPL 2022 a comeback, I’m still working on it: Hardik Pandya

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya said he’s looking forward to leading the Gujarat Titans in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) but downplayed talks that the new season will be some sort of comeback.

Hardik said he’s been able to achieve self-realization during the injury break and is excited to see how his hard work will reward him.

The 28-year-old has struggled with fitness issues since suffering a back injury in 2019 and failed to find a place in the Indian team in recent series against New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka.

“I was just spending time with family and working hard as always. (I) make sure I prepare well. For me it was a time of realizing myself and thinking a lot about what I want and what will work for me going forward and I received those answers during that time,” Hardik told the IPL website.

Hardik Pandya was not retained by the Mumbai Indians ahead of the IPL 2022 Mega Auction. However, he was drafted by the Gujarat Titans as captain. Rs 15 crore.

“I don’t think it’s going to be my comeback, or I’m focused on that. For me right now I just want to have a positive attitude and I’m not looking far ahead, I just focus on things that are controllable, which takes care of my body and makes my team win,” he said.

“Finally, if I get things right for the Gujarat Titans in IPL, things will continue to roll forward. I’m just a work in progress at the moment but for me it will be important that I will always be available for the players no matter the time and any day. I want to give the players security and freedom.”

Pandya, downgraded from Class A to C in the BCCI’s central contracts, had recently taken a general examination at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, where he bowled and also passed the ‘yo-yo’ test with ease .

“I’m looking forward to this IPL because I’ve been away from sport for quite a long time. For me it’s very exciting, I’ll see where exactly I stand after three months of hard work that I’ve put through the closed doors,” he said.

“The result doesn’t matter because I’ve learned that hard work doesn’t guarantee you success, but the right process will eventually make you successful.”

“Thankful to MI”

The Gujarat Titans take on fellow debutants Lucknow Super Giants, led by KL Rahul, in their IPL campaign opener on March 28.

Pandya, who made his IPL debut for the Mumbai Indians in 2015, expressed his gratitude to the five-time champions.

“I am very grateful to the Mumbai Indians. I played international cricket because of the Mumbai Indians. I’ve achieved a lot and I cared about it, but now I’m looking forward to new opportunities,” he said.

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