Hardik Pandya Backs Board’s Workload-related Decisions

As India gear up for the three-match ODI series against Australia, set to begin on the 17th of March at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, maverick all-rounder Hardik Pandya opined that the Indian team are focused on learning and honing their skills from their experiences in competing in bilateral series.

“I don’t think we have tried anything new. We will be trying to be a little brave which I think in the last couple of series we have done quite well,” the 29-year-old said.

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Pandya, who is set to take the reins as the captain for the ODI opener in Mumbai following Rohit Sharma’s withdrawal from the game due to personal commitments said that the bilateral series help in acclimatising players to playing under pressure on the big stage.

“All these bilaterals are as challenging, they can get as close to the wire as they can. That is the only way we are going to learn and start playing under the pressure of knockouts in ICC tournaments,” he explained.

“But we don’t need to look at that right now, the past is past and we are hoping for the best things to come,” Pandya added.

Pandya also shed light on how the members of the Indian team are comfortable with workload-related decisions made by the management.

“We have to have faith in our strength and conditioning coaches. I am a guy who trusts his team. These calls of workload, who should play when, who should not play, that is completely on the guys who are professionals and it is their call,” he said.

“All these guys are confident that if they miss out on some matches, then they miss out. It’s okay. That’s the confidence we have. If someone misses out because of workload management, this management has shown confidence and trust in the players. I think that’s the reason players who have gone out have come back with a lot of security,” he added.

When asked if he would be comfortable with bowling his full quota of 10 overs, the all-rounder said that he will oblige to the needs of the situation.

“Whatever the situation requires, I will do it,” Pandya asserted.

The 29-year-old also explained how the long duration of the ODI help in the proper execution and implementation of plans.

“ODIs are just an extension of the T20 game in which you have to make a lot of changes. You have to be at it because every over, every ball changes the game. In ODIs you have more set plans, once you start something, the same plan could be going on for six overs. It is just about how we can control that period,” he said.

With the Indian Premier League right around the corner, Pandya added that the players are used to playing in the cash-rich T20 league despite the tournament set to begin in barely a week’s time after the ODIs against Australia.

“We all are professionals and this is not the first time we are playing the IPL. This is going to be my ninth or 10th and almost everyone has been around for far too long. Playing for the country is a different honour and pride so that does not even come into question,” he said.

“To be very honest, I had to think about this question for the first time because I don’t think any individual has got this thought of motivating more because the IPL is around. IPL is IPL, how we take it series by series, even the IPL will be the same,” Pandya added.

When asked if he would grab at the opportunity of representing India in the World Test Championship final against Australia, Pandya said “No. I am an ethically very strong person. I haven’t done 10 per cent to reach there. I am not even a part of one per cent.”

“So, me coming there and taking someone’s place will ethically not go well. If I want to play Test cricket, I’ll go through the grind and earn my spot,” Pandya asserted.

“Hence, for that reason, I will not be available for the WTC final or future Test series until I don’t feel that I have earned my spot,” he concluded.

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