Hardik Himanshu Pandya
October 11, 1993, Choryasi, Gujarat
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium fast
Allrounder Hardik Pandya's calling cards brisk seam bowling and powerful ball-striking marked by the ability to hit sixes from the first ball.
Hardik, who plays his domestic cricket for Baroda, first caught the eye with an unbeaten 31-ball 61 for Mumbai Indians against Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2015 IPL. That began a long association with Mumbai, where he won four trophies and gained acclaim as a formidable finisher. By the end of the 2022 T20 World Cup, he had come to be seen as a future India captain, thanks to the leadership skills he showed that year in turning an unfancied Gujarat Titans line-up into IPL champions in their first year of existence.
Hardik began his India career in 2016 when he was called up for a limited-overs tour to Australia, before impressing with the ball on seamer-friendly pitches in Bangladesh at the Asia Cup. He appeared to be the answer to India's search for a seam-bowling allrounder, and with his sprightly fielding added to the mix, he sealed his spot in India's squad for that year's T20 World Cup.
While Hardik batted only twice in the tournament, he bowled the last over against Bangladesh, defending two runs off three balls to help India to a one-run win. A little more than a week after that, Pandya endured the disappointment of bowling a no-ball to reprieve Lendl Simmons, whose unbeaten innings helped eventual champions West Indies clinch the semi-final.
Since then, it has not been all smooth sailing. The impact of a serious back injury in 2018 continues to follow Hardik, sometimes limiting him from being able to bowl. And early in 2019, he was embroiled in controversy when he made misogynistic and racist remarks on a talk show, for which he was pulled up by the Indian board.
In the 2020s, Hardik grew into his role as a senior player and won praise for his faith in players as a captain and for being a free-thinker. In 2022, after India beat Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, he said he wouldn't have minded losing because the match was so much fun - sentiments he echoed after the 2023 IPL final, where he was all praise for rival captain MS Dhoni, whose Chennai Super Kings beat Gujarat Titans for the title. That year, like in the one before, Hardik turned in an impressive all-round and captaincy performance, making 346 runs and taking nine wickets in Gujarat Titans' run to their second final in a row.
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