Hardik Pandya said he felt a “sense of achievement” after his all-round performance helped India to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in their Asia Cup opener in Dubai. Four years ago at the same venue against the same opposition, Pandya was was stretchered off the field with a career-threatening back injury.

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The Indian all-rounder returned with figures of 3 for 25 and then played an unbeaten 17-ball 33-run knock to lead India home. In an interview with team mate Ravindra Jadeja, posted by BCCI, Hardik credited former Indian team physio Nitin Patel, who is currently the head of BCCI Sports Science, and current strength and conditioning coach Soham Desai for his comeback.

He said, “I was remembering everything. I was going out on a stretcher, it was the same dressing room and I felt a sense of achievement because the way things panned out after that and and how I got the chance today, I think the journey is very beautiful and we get the fruits of the journey but behind the scenes, whoever has worked with me never get credit. Soham Desai and Nitin Patel deserve credit for whatever comeback has happened for me.”

Pandya also dissected his thought process and strategy in the last over when he took on Mohammad Nawaz in the last over. He said, “I didn’t think seven runs (in the last over) was a big ask because it was a left arm spinner and the five fielders inside the circle (penalty for Pakistan due to slow over rate) also did not matter to me. Even if there were ten fielders outside, I had to hit it anyway.

“So that did not affect me but during the whole innings, I only expressed emotion when you (Jadeja) got out. In my mind, there was no pressure really because I think he (Nawaz) was under more pressure and I was hoping for him to make a mistake because the way you handle pressure is how you can execute. When he moved the fielder, I understood that he would opt for a back of length delivery.”

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In the post match presentation after being awarded player of the match, Hardik also spoke about how he would have backed himself even if the equation demanded 15 runs instead of seven. He said, “In a chase like this, you always plan over-by-over. I always knew that there is one young bowler and also one left-arm spinner. We only needed seven off the last over but even if we needed 15, I’d have fancied myself. I know the bowler is under more pressure than me in the 20th over. I try to keep things simple.”

Interestingly, Pandya got all three wickets through bouncers and said it was relying on his strengths while bowling that helped him pick a match-changing three-for.

He said: “In bowling, it’s important to assess the situation and conditions and use your weapons. For me, bowling short and the hard lengths have been my strengths. It’s about using them well and asking the right questions to make the batters commit a mistake.”

Watch the whole interview here.