Veteran Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has given credit to the Gujarat Titans (GT) coach Ashish Nehra for the massive role he has played in his development as a leader. The cricketer also said that working in tandem with him added value to his captaincy too. However, Pandya led the team during the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka at home. India clinched the series 2-1 by winning the final game in Rajkot by 91 runs as well.
While Pandya doesn’t have much captaincy experience, he led Gujarat Titans (GT) to the IPL title in their maiden IPL season last year as well.
At a press conference following the Sri Lanka T20Is, he said: “I have never led in junior cricket as well. When I was U16, I led for Baroda. … What has been very important from the Gujarat point of view is the kind of coach I worked with. Ashish Nehra made a big difference in my life – we are very similar cricketing thought wise. Because I was with him, it added more value to my captaincy. It helped me to get exactly what I know. It was just getting assurance. It has definitely helped me.”
With Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul rested for the Sri Lanka T20Is, Pandya led a relatively inexperienced team in the series as well. While there were a few negative points, some impressive performances from the young guns made headlines.
“Managing (a young team) is not difficult. But, at the same point of time, it’s a young group. They will make mistakes and learn from it. We emphasise that once you make a mistake, you learn from that. Acceptance is very important in this sport. If you don’t accept it, things go very far. It’s about intent. There might be a case where we do the same thing, but we might score 150. But you look for a boundary, and if a good ball is there, you respect the ball. If you go for a one, first only if you are thinking defensive, if a bad ball is there, you won’t be able to put it away,” Hardik Pandya concluded.
India and Sri Lanka will now take on each other in a three-match one-day series, beginning in Guwahati on Tuesday (January 10).