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'When he wears that blue jersey, he will be a different Hardik Pandya'

Last updated on 28 May 2024 | 02:53 PM
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'When he wears that blue jersey, he will be a different Hardik Pandya'

The all-rounder is expected to play a key role in India's quest to regain the T20 World Cup

Hardik Pandya did not have the best of seasons in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 for Mumbai Indians (MI). Moreover, the fans did not warm up to him as captain, given that he had replaced Rohit Sharma at the helm after years of service. He was subjected to constant boos all around the country by MI fans, and moreover, his performances with either bat or ball were not something to write home about.

He managed to hit just 151 in 13 innings but fared slightly better with the ball in the latter part of the season, picking up 11 wickets at an economy rate of 10.75

Pandya has been selected as the vice-captain of India's T20 World Cup side but there are question marks over his form. Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that Pandya's fortunes will turn around once he dons the India blue.

"When he wears that blue jersey, he will be a different Hardik Pandya because we know he can score those runs and take those wickets. I want Hardik to come good as he has gone through a lot and I wish him all the very best to have a very good tournament for India," Harbhajan told PTI.

"If he has a good tournament, obviously, India will have a great chance to go forward. Yes, his form is a bit of a concern...and a lot of other stuff was going on around him, his shifting from Gujarat to Mumbai, was a big change and the team [MI] didn't react too well to Hardik coming back and that too as captain."

With Rohit now in charge of the Indian team, Harbhajan has urged the management to bring him and Pandya together on the same page for the sake of the team.

"It looked like they [MI] were not playing together as a team. So there was a lot going on. Hardik wasn't a free man in the last two months. I believe both of them and many others who have played in different teams will have to come together to do something special for the nation," the 43-year-old said. 

"Winning a World Cup is a bigger achievement than winning an IPL trophy, so I would urge the management to bring everyone together, have them on one page and make sure they play like one. "I believe it's the responsibility of the management to come together and win together. Even if they lose, they should be losing together."

With the IPL done and dusted, the action now moves on to the T20 World Cup, starting June 1 in the US and the Caribbean. India begin their T20 World Cup campaign against Ireland on June 5 in New York.

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