India all-rounder Hardik Pandya opened up on the infamous ‘Koffee with Karan’ controversy, where he was roundly slammed for making misogynistic comments with teammate KL Rahul in company.
The duo were suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for a month but made strong comebacks in the Indian Premier League to find a place in the 2019 World Cup squad.
“I remember lots of people coming up to me and saying ‘aisa ho gaya [all this happened]...what about your team? Your management shown have known about this. I told them: ‘no one has control over me’,” Pandya told senior commentator Harsha Bhogle in an interview with Cricbuzz.
“Had I not accepted my mistake, I would have been doing the same thing over and over again; another television show would have happened, I would be getting out in the same manner. No two people are the same and life would have been boring if that was the case.
Pandya and Rahul received a lot of flak on social media, prompting streaming platform Hotstar to take the episode down.
“My first thought was to accept the mistake,” the 26-year-old said.
“Had I not done that, that episode would have still been playing in my head. Now, that phase does not bother me. My family accepted it. The Hardik Pandya you see right now is because of them.
“I play well if I am in a happy space. At the time, my family received a lot of abuse. My father gave an interview but people made a mockery out of it. They [my family] experienced problems because of me, and it was not acceptable.
Pandya spoke about his friendship with Rahul, who had hit a purple patch before cricketing activities were halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“KL and I...our career trajectory has been the same. We were suspended and went through a stressful time. For five-six days, I might have slept for an hour. We know each other’s personalities very well. He knows that ‘Hardik is honest’, irrespective of what I do or say. I know that KL is also the same.”
Pandya revealed that he shares a close bond with former captain MS Dhoni, calling him “family” but sees more similarities with current skipper Virat Kohli.
“Virat and I have the same mindset,” the Baroda-born all-rounder said. “We like to take on new challenges, new situations and come out on top. That’s why I was so disappointed with World Cup 2019 [semi-final against New Zealand]. That situation was tailor-made for me with the team in trouble. The platform was perfect for me to take India home.
“Kohli and Ravi bhai [Shastri] back me on good days and bad days. In the second Test against South Africa, I was out playing a stupid shot after scoring 93 from a difficult situation in the first Test. My aim is to bat at No 5 but what I do at No 7, not many people can do.”
Watch the full interview of Hardik Pandya with Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz here: