India's all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been on the sidelines since September 2019, due to an injury is set to make a long-awaited return during the upcoming tour of New Zealand later this month according to multiple media reports on Monday. He has been included in the India A squad that tours New Zealand just before the senior national team does.
Hardik Pandya appeared on a leading media network's program recently where he was asked about playing the role of the finisher if veteran MS Dhoni is not part of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.
The all-rounder had a heartwarming response as he admitted that he was looking forward to that challenge while knowing that he would never be able to fill MS Dhoni's shoes, so he doesn't even think that way.
The all-rounder added that he was quite excited about the challenge and will always prioritize the team. Hardik Pandya further said that it would be one step at a time to lead India's charge at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
While speaking during the program, Hardik Pandya also said that he was hopeful for yet another good comeback as he had been fortunate so far. The 26-year old also opened up about the controversy where he was slammed by fans and critics for his misogynistic remarks on a leading Indian talk show, where he appeared with teammate KL Rahul.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued both the cricketers show-cause notices after their insensitive remarks on the talk show and also suspended them from the team, which resulted in their exclusion from the ODI series against Australia in January 2019.
Further elaborating on the incident, Hardik Pandya said that as cricketers, they did not know what was going to happen. He added that the ball was not in his court but in someone else's where they had to take the shot and that it was a very vulnerable place where one wouldn't want to be. Both the cricketers saw their teammates distance themselves from the controversy and found little support during that period.
Image Courtesy: Hardik Pandya's official Instagram handle.