Dravid revived my cricketing career, says Hardik Pandya
Kanpur [India], Jan.24 (ANI): Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya on Tuesday admitted that the India A tour of Australia was a 'learning curve' for him, while hailing legendary batsman Rahul Dravid for helping him revive his international career after a few disappointments in 2016 that saw him out of the national side.
The 23-year-old, who made his debut against Australia at the start of last year, received a flurry of criticism for his performance during the T20 World Cup in 2016, where he only managed to claim five wickets from as many games.
Pandya, however, managed to bring his career back on track within the space of a few months with his good performances for India A in a tour Down Under.
Addressing the media ahead of the three-match T20 series against England beginning on January 26 here at Green Park, Pandya credited current India A and India u-19 coach Dravid for this momentous turnaround in his career before insisting that the World Cup 2016 was a reality check for him.
"After the World Cup (T20 World Cup, 2016), I slightly had a reality check like what are the things I should improve, the 'A' tour of Australia was pretty important for me. I learnt a lot of things about my game there. As I mentioned, Rahul (Dravid) Sir helped me a lot by talking to me about my game as well as working on the mental aspects. There was Paras Sir (Mhambrey) as well who helped me with my bowling and my fitness," Pandya said.
Talking about the difference in the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and newly-appointed Virat Kohli, Pandya said that he didn't find any difference in change in leadership as both of them has instilled a lot of confidence in him.
"I don't think so, both (Dhoni and Kohli) used to guide me, MS bhai used to give me a lot of confidence, as a bowler, as a batsman. Virat bhai also does the same thing. I don't find any difference between the two. I am pretty happy with Virat's captaincy," he said.
Reflecting on the inclusion of veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, Pandya said that that former's presence would strengthen the bowling attack even more.
"I don't think anything different will be there. Obviously, I have played with him (Nehra) and I am very comfortable with him. Individually, it doesn't make any difference when someone else comes into the team. It strengthens (Nehra's inclusion) the bowling attack very much," Pandya emphasized.
India clinched a 4-1 win in the five-match Test series against England before recently recording a 2-1 win in the three-match ODI series. And Pandya believes the recent wins have surely boosted the team's confidence ahead of the T20 series and the Champions Trophy.
"It gives a lot of confidence. When you are coming off a good series, it helps a lot. As a player, it was very important that I should start believing that I belong here (Indian team). It was a pretty important series for me and thankfully it turned out to be a good series on an individual level," he said.
It will be India's last limited overs series before the 2017 Champions Trophy, where India are the defending champions.The series will also mark the debut of Virat Kohli as the captain of the Indian T20I side.(ANI)