Hardik Pandya has given sensational performances ever since recovering from his shoulder injury. He first led IPL franchise Gujarat Titans to their maiden triumph in their first season itself. In recent times, he played an incredible knock while batting down the order against arch-rivals Pakistan in group stage of Asia Cup 2022 and was declared player of the match for his all-round performance. The 28-year-old played another great innings against Australia in first T20I on Tuesday, hitting 71* off just 30 balls at a fearsome strike rate of 236.67 which helped India post a mammoth total against the visitors.
Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden lauded the Indian all-rounder for his latest exploits in T20 cricket. Hayden was all praise for Pandya for his adaptability and terrific comeback after being marred by injuries. The Australian legend also appreciated the tremendous self-belief that Pandya has showcased in pressure situations in recent times.
"He has got such great belief, talent is one thing, but trusting the fact you can be a match-winner and deliver on the day. We saw in the IPL that he batted at No. 4. We all thought 'uh, how is he going to go about it?'. But he batted so well," Hayden told Star Sports.
"He is such an adaptable cricketer. He has grown a lot as a cricketer. The biggest thing is the belief in himself. His ability to be able to read the situation, know the pressure is there and then handle it and deliver, it's taking him to new levels," the former Australia opener explained.
Pandya's peak form is faring well for the Men in Blue, ahead of the T20 World Cup in October this year. His self-confidence has been absolutely terrific. It was very evident when he famously denied an easy single to 'finisher' Dinesh Karthik in a T20I against South Africa.
Going into the T20 World Cup, India will probably use Pandya as a sixth bowling option besides his power-hitting abilities as a batter.