India all-rounder Hardik Pandya made quite a mark in the Indian Premier League (IPL) by displaying a fearless brand of cricket. He kept performing for Mumbai Indians (MI) in both departments of the game and solidified his reputation as an all-rounder for the franchise. Soon he got to make his India debut under MS Dhoni. Pandya also made his presence felt during the International T20 Cup in 2016 by shining with the ball.
From 2016 to 2021, a lot has changed as the 28-year-old went through one of the darkest phases of his career after he got suspended by BCCI in 2019 for his controversial remarks during the talk show. Pandya faced a lot of wrath for his untoward behaviour. Pandya revealed that the phase was one of the worst times of his life.
“When I heard I was going to get suspended, a lot of cricketers who knew me personally, who knew what kind of an individual I am, they went out and spoke about it, which is fine. They thought I was done. I heard lots of people saying, ‘Hardik’s done, he won’t be able to cope with this.’ Because I was the bad boy of Indian cricket at that time,” Pandya told Cricket Monthly.
The 28-year-old further revealed he could not concentrate on the sport and often cried while practicing at Bangalore after his suspension was revoked. “At the Chinnaswamy [Bengaluru], while practicing, I was missing the ball by this much (shows a wide gap). Because when this is not right (points to head) and when you question yourself, things just go wrong. That day I cried during training because there was a lot of emotion. Because of how I was portrayed [after the talk-show incident]. I was never that individual. I was not able to concentrate on my sport because there was a lot of expectation from myself, leave anyone else.”
Pandya will next be seen in action in the upcoming International T20 Cup, which got underway on October 17.