Hardik Pandya: Felt the mental pressure during rehabilitation

Returning from a back surgery surgery, Pandya was, in January, pulled out of the India A team’s tour of New Zealand after failing mandatory fitness tests in Mumbai.

Pandya proved his fitness in the DY Patil T20 tournament, an invitational event, with scores of 46, 105, 38 and 158*.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

All-rounder Hardik Pandya last played for India during the T20 International series against South Africa, taking part in the third match in Bengaluru. He has not played Test cricket since the Southampton Test against England in September 2018.

“I missed this atmosphere in these past six months, playing for India and the feeling that you get wearing the team’s colours. That had become a mental challenge and there were a lot of setbacks,” Pandya said during his appearance on ‘Chahal TV’ ahead of the ODI series-opener against South Africa in Dharamsala.

Returning from a back surgery surgery, Pandya was, in January, pulled out of the India A team’s tour of New Zealand after failing mandatory fitness tests in Mumbai. The selectors had picked him in the squad without testing him in the Ranji Trophy matches.

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The all-rounder had also taken part in a practice session with the Indian team before an ODI against Australia in Mumbai.

“I was trying to get back to full fitness quickly but that did not work out and there was a lot of mental pressure at that time. But everything went fine, the rehabilitation went well and a lot of people helped me,” he added.

Pandya proved his fitness in the DY Patil T20 tournament, an invitational event, with scores of 46, 105, 38 and 158*. “I had not played a single game for six and a half months. I wanted to make an international comeback so it was very important for my confidence. No matter how much you practise, the match situation is always different," he said.

“So I just kept on playing, my confidence kept improving and the sixes were coming off well. I though if they are coming off well, why should I stop and I kept going. But I never thought that I will hit 20 sixes in an innings,” he added.

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