Wanting to emulate my brother MS Dhoni: Hardik Pandya sees success with Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022

Sport

The newly appointed Gujarat Titans captain delivered a heartfelt message ahead of the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) opener against the Lucknow Super Giants on Monday, saying he hopes for sporting success in the T20 league.

Hardik leads an IPL team for the first time in league history. After spending 7 seasons with the Mumbai Indians for whom he made his debut in 2015, Hardik was drafted by the new Gujarat franchise for Rs 15 crore.

Hardik has not played competitive cricket since last year’s T20 World Cup as he has been working on rehabilitation following a back injury. However, the Indian all-rounder passed the fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before joining the Gujarat camp in Ahmedabad.

In a video shared by the franchise, Hardik said he wants to emulate his brother and dear friend MS Dhoni as he steps into the footsteps of an IPL captain for the first time. The all-rounder said he learned many lessons from the time he spent with Sachin Tendulkar at Mumbai Indians, which will come in handy when he takes the lead.

“I won’t tell you where I’m from. You probably know that. I’ll tell you where I’m taking you. It’s about the summit, which is called sporting success.

“This sweet, sublime place where the sand lives with the grind, work breeds happiness. It’s a route my brother (MS Dhoni) scaled and I’ve made no attempt to hide my desire to emulate him. It’s a place that my hero (Sachin Tendulkar) owned and told me stories about how he got there,” Hardik said in the video.

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CONFIDENCE OR FLAMBOOYANCE?

Hardik said he was battle hardened after all the ups and downs of his career and confident of making a difference as captain of the Gujarat Titans.

“It’s a journey where I will at times compete against my siblings, my soulmate and many of my closest friends. And like any flight, turbulence can occur. But hey, look at me. When I’ve survived a national storm, a suspension, a grueling back injury and more, I know what it takes,” Hardik added.

“Confidence, flamboyance, whatever you call it… All I know is that when I go out bat in hand, my opponents get a tiny shudder in their backs because they know I can pull off a raid.”

Pandya, who was downgraded from Tier A to C in the BCCI central contracts, will be aiming for a comeback in the senior team. It will be interesting to see how the all-rounder handles the burden of captaincy, playing both ball and ball to attract the selectors’ attention.

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