ICC Champions Trophy 2017| Hardik Pandya hails self-belief as the key to his performance against Pakistan

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017| Hardik Pandya hails self-belief as the key to his performance against Pakistan

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SportsCafe Desk

06/05/2017

Hardik Pandya has termed his self-belief to be the major reason for his scintillating performance in India's 124-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their inaugural match yesterday. The 23-year old scored an unbeaten 20 off six deliveries before scalping two wickets later on in the match.

“When I saw the left-arm spinner, I knew that I could go for it,” Pandya said in a post-match interview. “It’s all about backing yourself. I always feel that in cricket, you need to back yourself and be confident. Once you are confident, you take the right decision and eventually that pays off.”

Hardik Pandya played a pivotal role in India's 124-run win over eternal rivals Pakistan in their first game of the ICC Champions Trophy yesterday. Pandya was chosen to go in to bat, after Yuvraj Singh's wicket, over the experienced MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. The 23-year old admitted that he did feel some pressure going in the midst of things in the most anticipated tie of the year. 

“Honestly I won’t lie, pressure was there,” he admitted. “But still at the back of my mind, I was thinking of it as a normal game because I didn’t want to take unnecessary pressure. In any game, I wouldn’t want to take unnecessary pressure on myself because that makes you do something that you are not supposed to do. Even this game, I was keeping pretty normal. I was pretty calm, composed. I tried not to think of it as a big match as well, just take it as a normal game, an important game for India like any match we play. And eventually we did pretty well and won it."

The Indian all-rounder smashed 19 runs in the last over courtesy of three huge sixes that did most of the damage towards the end. Pandya's dazzling stint in the last over helped India get to a colossal total of 323 in 48 overs. He further revealed that he was unknown to the fact that he would be going out to bat until the 46th over.

“I got to know in the 46th over, when coach told me, ‘You will be going next, go pad up.’ Obviously, I padded up quickly and once I got my gloves, I went out straightaway because Yuvi paa got out,” Pandya stated.

Later on in the match, Pandya showed why his all-round ability is held in such high regard in India as he claimed two wickets, including that of the Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, whilst giving away just 43 runs in the eight overs he bowled. The right-arm medium pacer troubled the Pakistan batsmen by varying his pace and was a constant thorn in their path. 

Pandya has become a synonymous figure in Indian team's lineup and is considered to be the fifth bowler in the bowling attack after the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Ravindra Jadeja. However, the right-hand batsman showed no signs of nervousness on the question of his place in the Indian team.

“Honestly, I don’t think I have any pressure because I have been playing regularly,” he said candidly. “I am not playing in place of anyone, it’s just the requirement of the team based on the conditions on offer. Since I made my international debut, I have played all the games that I was part of the squad for, except for one which I sat out in Visakhapatnam.”

“Obviously, with the score they were chasing, I always knew that not just me, they are going to charge every bowler,” he explained. “We had to back ourselves and bowl the right areas which we did, and that’s why we got the wickets. That always pays off. If you bowl the right areas, the hard lengths, it pays. I was only focussing on what I can do and not what the batsmen can do. That always helps.”

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