Mumbai: 2016 has been Hardik Pandya’s year. The all-rounder made his India debut against Australia in a T20 game in January. He then made his ODI debut in the recently concluded series against New Zealand.
But the biggest news for the 23-year-old cricketer came on Wednesday as he was picked in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England.
In an interview with 'Rediff', Himanshu Pandya, father of Hardik, expressed his happiness.
“It is my dream to see both my sons play Test cricket and now one dream is about to be realized. We've got one of the best Diwali gifts, the celebrations and sweets continue after the festival as well now. I don't want to talk about myself because every parent wants to give their best for their kids. It is Hardik's hard work and dedication that has paid off now.”
Hardik’s brother and fellow cricketer Krunal Pandya revealed how his brother worked to improve his bowling after he was dropped from Mumbai Indians’ team during this year’s IPL season.
“I still remember he was a little dejected after being dropped from the Mumbai Indians team in the last IPL season. What is praiseworthy is that he bounced back. Hardik has trained hard in the past six months and the added pace to his bowling got him selected for the Tests.
"I was expecting that Hardik would be selected after looking at how he bowled in the ODI series against New Zealand. Earlier, he was considered as a batsman who could bowl medium pace but in the last series he bowled with serious pace.”
Hardik’s coach, Jitendra Singh also praised Hardik for his hard work and believes the cricketer is in the best phase of his career.
“I was training with Hardik just two days ago and saw him in prime fitness. Hardik was always a good batsman but the way he bowled in the recent ODI series, it boosted his chances.
"He is probably the only all-rounder in India now who can bowl 140-plus and score runs at a brisk pace. This is the best phase in his career and after being selected for five-day cricket, I think he has now become a complete player and is ready for the real test.”...