Hardik: ‘I was in the zone’

Having destroyed Sri Lanka’s morale with a pulsating ton in the third Test, the India all-rounder spoke on topics ranging from that one over of mayhem against Malinda Pushpakumara to the obvious comparisons with the legendary Kapil Dev.

Hardik Pandya plays an upper cut en route to his 108 on Sunday.   -  AP

Checking his mobile phone and reading all the congratulatory messages, Hardik Pandya walked into the press-conference hall with a permanent smile. Having destroyed Sri Lanka’s morale with a pulsating ton in the third Test, the India all-rounder spoke on topics ranging from that one over of mayhem against Malinda Pushpakumara to the obvious comparisons with the legendary Kapil Dev.

Report: Hardik show flattens SL

 

Excerpts

The scintillating 26-run over

It just happened. Honestly I didn’t want to go all out in that over but I don’t know what happened. Maybe I was connecting pretty well (and I thought) let me try this over and scored 26. It obviously feels good. From there I saw the scoreboard and I was batting on 80 and I was like, wow! I was in the zone. I usually don’t look at the scoreboard, I just focus on how I can help the innings progress.

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Spread field, opportunities galore

Could there have been a bigger opportunity than that? Nine wickets were down and I knew, if I stay in the crease and connect the ball, it would go for six. Even if I were to mis-hit, I had no choice. It was an ideal opportunity and obviously there was the team’s goal, which was then the 400-run target and we scored close to 490.

Celebration-style

Before the first day of this game, Shikhar (Dhawan), K. L. (Rahul) and I were sitting and we were like ‘if he (Dhawan) scores a hundred he will celebrate in this manner.’ He scored a 100 and he did it. Last night I said that ‘if do something nice today, I will celebrate the same way.’

The next Kapil Dev

It feels good if someone (selection committee chairman M. S. K. Prasad) compares you with such legends. My focus is to become what I can become. Even if I can be 10 per cent of what he (Kapil) was, I will be pretty happy.

Seamlessly moving across formats

You practice according to the format. If I play T20, I hit. If play one-day cricket, I hit. And if I get the chance in Tests, I hit.

The runs before the 100

For the first time in my life, I had no butterflies. When I bat, I don’t think about my score. The one thing I learnt from Mahi bhai (M. S. Dhoni) is that you always put your team ahead and play accordingly.

Bowling

In Ranji Trophy you might get helpful wickets where you get a five-wicket haul in 10 overs but in Tests, it is different. You need to make sure you bowl disciplined lines and play on the patience of the batsmen.