Captain Hardik Pandya’s additional responsibility has been a world of good: Ravi Shastri

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes the additional Gujarat Titans captaincy has helped Hardik Pandya grow as a cricketer. The 28-year-old took a short sabbatical from cricket to work on his fitness after the 2021 T20 World Cup and he returned to competitive cricket in IPL 2022 where he was named captain of new franchise Gujarat Titans. The flamboyant all-rounder guided Gujarat to title victory in his debut season.

Shastri, who worked with Pandya during his tenure as Team India head coach, said the all-rounder was in shock after Mumbai Indians failed to sign him ahead of the auction.

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“It came as a shock to him when he was not retained by Mumbai Indians,” Shastri said during commentary during the second ODI between India and England at Lord’s.

Hardik started his journey with Mumbai Indians in 2015 and won four Indian Premier League titles with them. He enjoyed great success with five times champions with both and the ball, which paved the way for his inclusion in the Indian team.

However, Mumbai decided to keep Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard ahead of the auction. After being snubbed by MI, Hardik signed for Gujarat Titans and was immediately named team captain.

“It was tough… MI had Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharna, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya so they had to choose three out of five. Obviously Ishan Kishan was chosen in the auction,” Shastri said.

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Shastri further said that the added responsibility helped Pandya as a player as he performed extremely well as a captain in his debut season.

“He was picked by the Gujarat Titans where he was given the added responsibility of becoming captain which did him a world of good. When given responsibilities he is a completely different cricket, for opposition to a simple hitter and striker,” he added.

The 28-year-old took the blame on his own shoulders and promoted himself in the batting order to numbers 3 and 4 to ensure balance in the lineup. He scored 487 runs in 15 games with a sublime average of 487. He also achieved bowling fitness and won eight wickets in the title-winning campaign.

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