Back from a lengthy layoff due to injury, Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya says he is now in good shape physically and mentally, and ready for the Indian Premier League starting September 19.

Hardik says the back injury he suffered last year motivated him to work harder.

“The way I’m hitting the ball right now, the shape I’m in, the mental space I’m in, it is just a matter of time that I go and spend some time on the ground and I think things will come out pretty well,” Pandya told Mumbai Indians. “No matter how far I go from the game, no matter how long I stay out, when I come back, it has to be worth it. I have prepared very well and I think, great things are coming ahead.”

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Hardik underwent a back surgery in London in November last year. He returned to cricket in March, 2020, participating in the DY Patil T20 tournament. “It gave me immense confidence to implement the hard work which I have done over a period of time, and it just felt good,” Hardik said, reflecting on that tournament.

Hardik was even selected for India’s One-Day International series against South Africa, but the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the series to be abandoned after one game, delayed his return. He is now looking forward to the IPL. “IPL is something that I have enjoyed a lot and I would like to make a comeback very strong and I’m just looking forward to it,” Hardik said.

‘Have to put in the hard yards’

“In my life I have realised one thing that injuries would be with me. No one wants to get injured, but I accept the fact that what I do, injuries would be a part of it. Injuries have always kept me going, always kept me motivated. Actually taught me how much I have to put in the hard yards and the hard work has always increased, never decreased,” he said.

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Hardik also threw light on how he maintained his fitness during the lockdown.


“Luckily, me and [my brother] Krunal [Pandya] had the privilege to have a gym in our house. So because of that portion, we were able to work on our fitness. And I always feel that if you go one step ahead in your fitness, there are much more magical moments in your life [that] are waiting,” he said.