Hardik Pandya, the newly-appointed captain of the Ahmedabad franchise in the Indian Premier League, is confident of his ability to not just lead the team but also restart his journey as an all-rounder after being out of the Indian squad since the T20 World Cup.
Pandya’s assurance that he is continuing to train as an all-rounder comes after India head coach Rahul Dravid cited the absence of a proper all-rounder as one of the reasons for the team’s 3-0 loss in the ODI series against South Africa.
“That’s my plan. I want to play as an all-rounder,” said Pandya in a conversation with journalist Boria Majumdar on Revsports’ YouTube channel.
“My preparation is all about playing as an all-rounder. If something goes bad, then I don’t know. But my preparation, my hard work is all about playing as an all-rounder.”
Prior to the prolonged back injury that saw Pandya play purely as a specialist batter and eventually be dropped from the side after an early exit in the World T20, he was the team’s designated fast bowling all-rounder who provided adequate balance across formats.
The 28-year-old lost his place in the Test team after failing to make the cut for India’s tour of England in 2021. He was then left out of the three-match T20I series against New Zealand at home, as well as the three-match ODI series earlier this month in South Africa.
Pandya, who was once a regular in India’s white-ball teams as a finisher and handy bowler, provided an update on his fitness saying, “I am feeling good, feeling strong and eventually, time will tell what exactly happens.”
Pandya’s comeback as an all-rounder will begin with the upcoming IPL season, where he will also be seen leading the new IPL team from Ahmedabad.
Reflecting upon what to expect during his upcoming stint as captain, he added that his philosophy is uncomplicated and he will make sure that he fosters a team environment wherein the players are able to realise their potential.
He said, “My way of leadership is that I want to set examples, create a culture and attitude which the team wants to play with. I want to set the precedent. [I want to] make sure everyone is in the right spirits, the environment is nice, and the players are feeling at home. Once everyone is comfortable, they all know what their potential is.”