Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya has spoken about how delighted he was working with former India pacer and head coach Ashish Nehra for the new franchise as they prepare for the IPL 2022 final against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on May 29, 2022.
GT was one of the two new franchises to join the IPL family, along with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). The franchise surprised everyone with their brilliant display in the field and topped the league stage points table, becoming the first team to qualify for the playoffs and then the final.
Many had questioned the rationale behind making Hardik Pandya the captain of the team, and Ashish Nehra the coach. But Pandya gave almost the entire credit for the success to head coach and former Indian pace bowler Ashish Nehra.
“I and my brother (Krunal) were having a chat before we signed anything. I said, someone who can understand me and know me as a person and kind of get the best out of me would be Ashish Nehra. So for me, playing and spending so much time with him is always fun and I’ve always enjoyed his company no matter what.
Our cricketing minds work in a similar fashion. He is someone who spends so much time looking after people (and) that is a fantastic quality. He makes sure he gives ample time to every individual. Ashu Pa (Nehra) and a lot of credit goes to the support staff to make sure that the outside environment is pretty chilled out and all that,” said Pandya.
Hardik, who has already been part of four Mumbai Indians (MI) IPL wins, said that his competitive nature takes over when he steps onto the field.
“And when it comes to competitiveness, I think that’s where I take over. When we go on the ground, it’s a ruthless business for me. For me, it’s about getting your job done. For us it is very important to kind of believe in ourselves and make sure that all the players feel that they are at home,” added Pandya.
The skipper said the main quality of his side was that some individual or the other always comes up with a match-winning performance whatever be the situation.
“Whenever we are put under situations where we have to show our character, some individual has kind of stood up and shown the way. I don’t care about the result, I care about the intensity. I care about how much you’re putting your team first,” said Pandya in a video posted by the franchise.
Hardik made his return to competitive cricket in the IPL 2022 after a self-inflicted sabbatical to work on his fitness and has been under the microscope of experts and fans alike, who have micro-analyzed his performances in the tournament.
“Throughout my life people have counted me out, always put a question mark, and the same thing happened when we went ahead about this auction, or even retention or even my captaincy. You know the best way to answer is not answer and I think all the people who said something or gave their opinion, I don’t have to tell them to take it back. I think they themselves have taken it back,” said Pandya.