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Hardik Pandya thanks Team India physio, trainer for his international cricket comeback
Dubai: Star Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has credited physio Nitin Patel and trainer Soham Patel for his comeback in international cricket, which has seen him playing a vital role with both bat and ball and win plenty of matches for the national side.
In a video posted by BCCI featuring Ravindra Jadeja, Pandya was asked by the southpaw about his journey from Asia Cup 2018, where he had sustained a back injury, till now. "I remember how I was being stretchered out. It was this same dressing room. This (his journey after injury) feels like an achievement because of the opportunities I have got after facing what I faced. This journey has been beautiful, I would like to thank Soham Desai and Nitin Patel for my comeback," he said.
Pandya has been in stupendous form with both bat and ball this year for India. After leading Gujarat Titans to their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season, he has replicated his consistency for India as well.
In T20Is this year, Pandya has scored 314 runs across 13 innings in 14 matches at an average of 34.88. He has scored one half-century and various other crucial knocks. He has also taken 11 wickets for his side in 14 matches with best bowling figures of 4/33.
Pandya said that the win was important for the side and it is happy to get it.
"Our nerves were checked, we were challenged as a team. Love the way he (Jadeja) came out and played," he added.
Questioned by Jadeja on his mindset during the final over, Pandya said that the task of hitting seven in the final over did not feel big because there was a left-arm spinner.
"Had there been five fielders or ten, I would have hit it out anyways. I did not feel pressure but was rather counting on bowler to make mistakes," he added.
Jadeja said that his inning of 35 runs was important. "It was important. I was promoted and was looking forward to taking my chances against spinners by hitting big shots. Our partnership was important. The way we talked about backing our strengths and will play our shots, it was nice," he added.
Pandya is grateful that the middle order is getting opportunities to play match-defining innings and feels that this match will serve as a lesson to players in future if the team is in a tricky situation.
Coming to the match, Pakistan were bundled out for 147 in 19.4 overs. Opener Mohammed Rizwan (43) and Iftikhar Ahmed (28) were the only ones who could contribute something decent with the bat. The pace and short-length deliveries of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/26), Hardik Pandya (3/25) and Arshdeep Singh (2/33) and Avesh Khan (1/19) blew away Pakistani batters and wickets fell at a regular rate.
Chasing 148, India lost KL Rahul for a duck in the very first over. After this, Virat Kohli (35) anchored the innings and formed a 49-run stand with skipper Rohit Sharma (12), who largely struggled at the other end. Twin strikes from Mohammed Nawaz, who took Sharma and Kohli's wickets restricted India to 3/53.
Following this, a 36-run stand between Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav helped move the scoreboard, before Suryakumar fell to debutant Naseem Shah for 18. A 52-run stand between Jadeja (35) and Hardik Pandya (33*) followed, which took India close to a win and in-form Pandya finished the proceedings with a six with two balls to spare, giving India a five-wicket win.
Nawaz (3/33) and Naseem Shah (2/27) bowled really well for Pakistan, though not enough to give them a win.
Pandya was adjudged as 'Man of the Match' for his all-round performance. (ANI)