India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is gearing up for the upcoming International T20 cup by sweating it out in training and gym sessions. This will be the 28-year-old’s second appearance in the global event after his debut in 2016. In 2018, Pandya’s life hit a road block after his controversial remarks on women on a talk show went viral. Consequently, the all-rounder along with his partner in crime, KL Rahul was suspended by the BCCI.
At that time, Pandya was at the peak of his prowess and was one of the important cogs in the team. He had also provided skipper Virat Kohli with a healthy balance by contributing to the batting and bowling department.
A jolt during that crucial period turned Pandya’s life upside down. The all-rounder recently opened up about that dark phase in an interview to Cricket Monthly. “When I heard I was going to get suspended, a lot of cricketers who knew me personally, who knew what kind of an individual I am, they went out and spoke about it, which is fine. They thought I was done. I heard lots of people saying, ‘Hardik’s done, he won’t be able to cope with this.’ Because I was the bad boy of Indian cricket at that time.”
Pandya also said he got emotional and broke down several times while he practiced in Bangalore after coming out of suspension. He said he could not concentrate on the sport and had moments of lapses even though he was hitting the ball well ahead of the IPL in 2019.
“At the Chinnaswamy [Bengaluru], while practising, I was missing the ball by this much (shows a wide gap). Because when this is not right (points to head) and when you question yourself, things just go wrong. That day I cried during training because there was a lot of emotion. Because of how I was portrayed [after the talk-show incident]. I was never that individual. I was not able to concentrate on my sport because there was a lot of expectation from myself, leave anyone else.”