Hardik Pandya has written a tale of success that cricket rarely witnesses. From struggling in the domestic circuit for years to having a shot at fame in his very first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hardik Pandya has lived a journey that has been nothing short of a dream ride. India has always struggled to find top class all-rounders, right from Kapil Dev to Irfan Pathan they’ve had very few names in between to talk about. Hardik Pandya, with his lanky fast bowling and fearless batting, has just extended that list and given one more name for India to add in their list of fast bowling all-rounders.
His aggression made him suffer in his early days of cricket, but he never gave up on either of them. He held on to his career without letting his aggression drop down, despite people judging and downgrading him for the same. His aggression now defines him as one man who’ll never give up and work to bail out India from the most difficult of situations. How he maaged to turn it around just defines the realism of modern day cricket and tells you a tale of how cricket has changed so drastically over the years.
Full Name: Hardik Himanshu Pandya
Weight: 68 kg
Father’s Name: Himanshu Pandya
Mother’s Name: Nalini Pandya
Nickname: Hairy, HP
Date of Birth: 11 October 1993
Hardik Pandya Age: 28 Years (on May 2021)
Place of Birth: Surat, Gujarat, India
Residence: Diwalipura, Vadodara
Brother: Krunal Pandya (Elder Brother)
Born to Himanshu Pandya and Nalini Pandya in Surat, Gujarat, Hardik Pandya had a flare of aggression about himself right from a very tender age. Despite that, he was a very adorable kid with a cute smile always making his face look all the more lovable. Struggle too came to him when he was just five years old. His father, a small car finance business owner, had decided to gift both his sons a career in cricket. He shifted with his family from Surat to Vadodara in order to ensure his sons had proper training facilities available at their exposure. He began playing cricket at Kiran More’s Academy in Vadodara alongside his elder brother, Krunal Pandya. His father ensured that despite all the adversities and financial drawbacks, his two sons lived their lives king size. He had them a second-hand car to go for training and had rented a house in Gorwa. His father didn’t mind Hardik Pandya dropping out of his school in the 9th grade and supported Hardik’s decision of focusing all his energy solely on Cricket. Hardik started his career as a leg-spinner and had won matches single-handedly at club level with both bat and ball. Despite his stellar performances, he was kept out of the age-group state level teams because of his aggression. It all changed however under the then Baroda Coach, Sanath Kumar, who asked Hardik to take up fast bowling.
After starting off at Kiran More’s Academy in Gujarat, Hardik Pandya excelled at club-level cricket and made it to the Baroda Cricket Team in 2013. He wasn’t a very popular name around there as he failed to make it to the age-level teams of Baroda, as he states, due to his over-the-top aggression. He was expected to make his Ranji debut for Baroda in the 2013-14 season against Bengal, but the match was called off without a ball being called off. That meant Hardik Pandya had to wait for one more game to see his dream reach the next level. Days later, after missing out the next few matches, he debuted against Madhya Pradesh on 28 November 2013 at Vadodara under the captaincy of Yusuf Pathan. He had a nightmare of a start to his career as he ended up with scores of 1 & 3 in the two innings and ended up with match figures of 3-0-11-0. It all changed in the limited overs format though as he carried Baroda to a triumph in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the 2013-14 season.
The then Mumbai Indians head coach, John Wright, was out scouting players for his side to play in the next season of IPL. Hardik Pandya walked out to bat with Baroda struggling at 20/2 in their opening game against Mumbai and scored a blistering 57-ball 82 against the likes of Zaheer Khan and Dhawal Kulkarni. This caught the eye of John Wright and he was drafted into the Mumbai Indians squad as a back-up for an inured player in 2014 itself. However, the injured player recovered withing 15 days and Hardik Pandya failed to get Mumbai’s jersey on. It was in 2015 when he was officially signed by Mumbai Indians for 10 lakh INR. He dubuted for Mumbai against RCB in the fifth match that season and scored a 6-ball-16 that spoke volumes of his potential to strike the white ball. It was against CSK though when Hardik Pandya announced himself on the big stage with an 8-ball-21 and helped Mumbai chase down 30 in two overs. He then had one more Man of the Match performance against KKR where he went against his natural game and scored a 45-ball-61 to bail out Mumbai Indians yet again. His hitting abilities and the bowling skills had already meant Hardik Pandya had a fan base that loved to see him play.
His heroics for Mumbai Indians meant it was now time for him to get set for the international stage and deliver the same for his country. He debuted for India first in the T20Is against Australia on 27 January 2016 and managed to pick up two wickets. It was then in October that year that Hardik Pandya made his ODI debut for India against New Zealand at Dharamsala. He became only the fourth player for India to win a man of the match award on debut. His selection in the limited overs was justified given his performances in the IPL. However, with a below par record in the Ranji Trophy, a test call up for Hardik Pandya was always going to be criticised. He, against all those criticisms and speculations, made his test debut against Sri Lanka in July 2017 and scored an impressive century right on his debut. He has certainly done enough to answer India’s calls for a fast bowling all rounder. Be it his memorable innings against Pakistan in the champions trophy, or his match winning last over against Bangladesh, Hardik Pandya has given the Indian fans quite a few memories to cherish already. But with cricket demanding a lot more than what he has given so far, it won’t be wrong to say he still has a long way to go.
India have always been desperate to have fast bowling all rounder who was good enough to open with both bat and ball. Ever since Kapil Dev retired, Indian fans were dying to get their next Kapil Dev. They did get an Irfan Pathan, who was good enough to open with both bat and ball, but just wasn’t good enough to last in the long run. He was soon forgotten and India were back to that desperation of finding their next Kapil Dev. They’ve now met with a lanky pacer from Gujarat who can smash the ball all over the park. That long living desperation has prompted the Indian cricketing community to label that lanky pacer to be their next Kapil Dev. Hardik Pandya’s bowling action and aggression with the bat only strengthens all those comparisons of his with Kapil Dev. Some have gone a step ahead after he started delivering the goods in whites for India, and have ended up comparing him South African legend Jacques Kallis. He definitely needs to do 100 times more than what he has done so far to prove worthy of all those comparisons, but he has surely given India a talent to be very proud of.
“Once a king is always a king” is what Hardik Pandya’s WhatsApp status reads more often. That probably has kept him in the Indian squad despite a haunting Ranji record to look back at. He has always been criticised for two things majorly, one his attitude and the other his inability to pick up wickets or even contain batsmen on pitches that don’t have much in them for the pacers. While the first can be ignored given the praises he receives for that very attitude from the other half of experts, the second has to be addressed at the earliest for Hardik Pandya’s own betterment. He still needs to work hard and learn bowling with tight line and length that could help him deliver 10 good overs even in conditions not so friendly for pace. Given his passion for the game, he surely is expected to soon answer it on the field.
Hardik Pandya’s cool-dude looks with a stud and tattoo on pictures the new look of Indian Cricket, aggressive and modern right to the core. That has helped him earn quite a few tie ups with top brands for endorsements. He first signed for GOLIL to endorse Gulf Oil in India alongside former Indian captain, MS Dhoni. He then featured for Audio company, Boat. More recently, he became the brand ambassador for Zagger, a payment and group dining company. He also became the brand ambassador for Sin Denims, a youth clothing brand.
Range Rover Vogue
Hardik Pandya reportedly has quite a few properties owned across India. One of which is his 1.8 crore INR luxury bungalow in Gujarat. The other known property of his is a 4BHK flat in Mumbai.
Hardik Pandya has a lot to himself than just his aggressive attitude and luxurious lifestyle. Despite reaching the peak of fame and glory, Hardik Pandya has been as modest as he always was. He, along with his elder brother Krunal Pandya, went to meet his mentor Jitendra Singh, and gifted him a car. We expect he grows to much greater heights and gifts India with many more victories.