Hardik Pandya was a show-stealer as the captain of the Gujarat Titans (GT), which won the IPL 2022 title in their debut season itself.
The 28-year-old star all-rounder remained calm and mature during the tough situations, and his performances with the ball and the bat, especially in the IPL 2022 final against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) on May 29, garnered him a lot of appreciation.
Pandya returned to bowling his full quota of 4 overs in several matches for GT, but his best performance came in the final, where he took his IPL best figures of 3/17 in 4 overs. He went on to dismiss the three pillars of RR’s batting order – Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, and Shimron Hetmyer.
Pandya also contributed to his team in the final match with the bat, scoring 34 important runs with patience, adding 60-odd runs with Shubman Gill, who remained not out on 45 and hit the winning six as well.
Former India batter Ajay Jadeja said that the crowd at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad motivated Pandya to go all the way and put up a good show. He also said that the 5-time champions Mumbai Indians must have felt the pain of letting the all-rounder go.
“He is one of those who gets inspired by the crowd. He likes the crowd, likes the people. If there is any dard (pain) it will be felt by the Mumbai fans. They will probably feel that pain today, not the Gujarat fans,” Jadeja said on Cricbuzz.
Pandya had earlier stated that he was trying to imbibe qualities from three of India’s biggest cricketing stars – MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli.
“He has picked the best from each one of them. You have got to keep learning, it is a process in life. Experience will always make you better. He has had a great run here but he is definitely going to learn as he grows. He has probably grasped most from (MI). He has come from Baroda, and played local cricket there but Mumbai Indians made Hardik Pandya. The Pandya we see today is thanks to Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma the captain and everyone else over there. I think MI has a better setup to educate you.
“When both these brothers had come to MI, nobody had heard of them. MI trusted them and put faith in them and maybe that is what he decided to do with others this time,” said Jadeja.