On the cusp of starting a new chapter in his career, Hardik Pandya, the captain of the newly-inducted Ahmedabad franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), continued to keep his cards closer to his chest about resuming to bowl at full tilt.

“It’s a surprise for everyone,” Hardik said on Tuesday, when asked about the status on his bowling workload, during his first official interaction as the Ahmedabad franchise captain. Despite having had to compromise his bowling ever since suffering a chronic back injury during the 2018 Asia Cup, Hardik insisted he sees himself as an all-rounder and not just a batter.

“I have realized, me as an all-rounder gives a lot of options to the team and I have tried to remain an all-rounder. If something does not work out (with the ball), my batting is always there,” Hardik said. “For me, as an invidual, Hardik Pandya, who can bat and bowl sounds a lot better than just a batter.”

Hardik said working with Ashish Nehra, who will take up his maiden assignment as the head coach of a franchise, was one of the main reasons for him to agree to join the Ahmedabad franchise.

Asked about his takeaways from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma - the three captains under whose captaincy he has played at the highest level - Hardik didn’t shy away from spelling out his wishlist.

READ | IPL auction: Full breakdown of purse remaining for 10 teams ahead of mega auction

“From Virat I would pick his aggression, passion, energy which is tremendous to be honest. With Mahi bhai , I’ll pick his composure, calmness, to be the same guy in every situation, trying to think what more he can add,” Hardik said.

“And with Rohit, I would pick that he lets players decide what to do. I’ll take these three qualities from them and I think it will be a very good combination.”

Vikram Solanki, the former England batter who has joined as the Director of Cricket, stressed that the decision to rope in Hardik as captain was not just limited to his Gujarati roots.

ALSO READ | IPL mega auction: Archer makes the list, but unlikely for 2022 season

“First and foremost, the reason we were very keen to get Hardik involved in a leadership capacity is because he is a phenomenal cricketer. His track record speaks for itself. His leadership qualities also speak for themselves in that he has been a proven winner with Mumbai,” he said.

“He has won championships, he has conducted himself in exemplary fashion. We certainly look forward to having him lead our franchise. The local boy connection is a bit of cherry-on-top scenario. It’s just worked out perfectly.”