In the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 between India and Pakistan, Hardik Pandya was the lone warrior in India’s famed batting line-up, who gave fans a hope of a victory.
The 24-year old proved himself as a batting all-rounder on the big day, and if not for a misjudgment in his run-out, he looked good for a century. He has revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar who had recognised his talent before anyone else. Tendulkar had told Pandya that he would take only “one or one-and-a-half-years” to break into the Indian cricket team.
During an episode of What the Duck season 2, Pandya said, “I hadn’t made my debut then and was in Hyderabad for a do-or-die clash and we were all a bit tense. He (Tendulkar) walked up to me and suddenly said, ‘Meet me later, I need to tell you something’.
“However, it was in Mumbai when I could speak to him. I saw him at the warm-up session and since I didn’t know what he wanted to tell me, I was extremely curious. He started by appreciating me for the way I was playing, before stating ‘I shouldn’t be telling you this but the way you’re playing and the potential you have in yourself, you should be playing for India in a year or one-and-a-half.”
Pandya made his ODI debut in October last year and impressed one and all. In the 12 ODI matches he has featured in so far, he has scored 265 runs at an average of 53.00 and has taken 13 wickets.
For someone who has played cricket at the top level for almost 24 years, it would not have been difficult to spot an upcoming talent. And Pandya repaid the faith Sachin made in him. The Baroda born guy has now become an indispensable part of the Indian cricket team set-up.
Photo by thejonesviewatuow