Hardik Pandya, who was a revelation with the ball in the five-match T20I series versus England, revealed that he made minute tweaks to his action but insisted that his body has been coping very well with the workload. Pandya, incredibly, bowled the third most overs by any Indian in the series.
The white-ball leg of the Australia tour marked the return of Hardik Pandya the batsman to international cricket, but the England T20Is saw the return of Hardik Pandya the all-rounder. But while a vast majority expected the 27-year-old to take the world by storm with the bat, it was ultimately with the ball that he won games for the side.
Pandya, in each of the first four games, played as the fifth bowler, and, despite playing as the sixth bowler in the decider, ended up bowling his quota of 4 overs in the fifth game. He ended the series with a remarkable ER of 6.94 - the second-best of any bowler - and displayed never-seen-before control that took England by surprise. Reflecting on a successful return to his all-rounder role, Pandya, post the series win, said that he’s been pleased with the way his body has been coping with the workload.
“I have been working on fine-tuning my action and at the end of the day when you go into the nets, I don't think you can focus too much. I feel my body is ready to take it and [I'm] coping well,” Pandya told Star Sports post the game.
More than skill, it was Pandya’s nous that helped him outwit the English batsmen in the series, and the 27-year-old revealed that he is aided by the fact that he thinks both like a batsman and a bowler.
“When I bat I think as a batsman and when I bowl I think as a bowler,” he said, speaking of how he approaches match situations.
It was a series that was one of a kind for India, as, across five matches, the Men in Blue took experimentation to the next level. Barring the fact that two batsmen made their T20I debuts and registered Man of the Match performances, India fielded four different opening combinations across five games and also had a new lead spinner by the time the final T20I beckoned. Pandya said that, keeping the World Cup in mind, the management took a conscious decision to tinker with the side.
“Looking at the World Cup, we wanted to try out a few things. To bat first and win games...the dew was there but our bowlers were pretty smart and it was top class. We didn't speak much about using slower balls, but the wicket allowed us to do it. The variation is our strength as well. The batsman is always guessing and that one fraction of a second you get changes the game.”