It was in 2015 that a young Hardik Pandya marked his arrival in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Mumbai Indians. Seven years hence, the flamboyant Baroda all-rounder is captaining the franchise from his home state, Gujarat Titans. Hardik was picked by the IPL newbies for ₹15 crore in the pre-auction draft and was named the captain as the former Mumbai Indians star started a fresh chapter with the added responsibility of leadership. (IPL 2022 Full Coverage)
Hardik, who struggled to manage his bowling workload post his back surgery, made a successful return to the sport following the hiatus. He is currently the leading run-scorer for the Titans with 309 runs and Hardik is all set to meet familiar foes Mumbai Indians on Friday (May 6).
Gujarat Titans, who are sitting pretty at the top of the 10-team standings with 16 points, will look for another win in order to seal the playoffs berth. GT skipper Hardik faces his close friend and long-term teammate Kieron Pollard.
“I wish Polly (Pollard) to have the best day for him, but we win. I kind of messaged him a few days as well that hope you’re okay and hope you’re doing well. I said we kind of miss you here. In a joking way, I said ‘You never know, you might come to us next year!’ It’s my wish but I know it’s never going to happen,” said Hardik in a video shared by Gujarat Titans.
During his spell with Mumbai Indians, Hardik won four IPL titles and the all-rounder expressed gratitude towards his former franchise. His eight-ball 21 against Chennai Super Kings in 2015 was a testament to Hardik’s batting prowess. The flashy all-rounder notched up a brisk cameo when his team needed 30 from two overs and later went on to become a vital element of the Mumbai Indians setup.
“My cap in 2015, it was very important for me. Those two man of the matches were important as the last seven games, for us it was a knockout. I kind of got my first glimpse of success and fame in that game where I scored some three sixes. I think we needed two overs, 32 or something, and we won with three-four balls to spare.
“We have created a lot of memories with Gujarat this season, but before that, winning four times will always be special. I find myself very blessed for that opportunity and experience to win four times,” said the 28-year-old Hardik.