Early life and background
Hardik Pandya was born on 11 October 1993 in Surat, Gujarat. His father Himanshu Pandya ran a small car finance business in Surat which he shut down and shifted to Vadodara when Hardik was five; he did so in order to facilitate his sons with better cricket training facilities. He enrolled his two sons (Hardik and Krunal) into Kiran More’s cricket academy in Vadodara.
Financially weak, the Pandya family lived in a rented apartment in Gorwa, with the brothers using a second-hand car to travel to the cricket ground. Hardik studied at the MK High School until ninth grade before dropping out to focus on cricket.
Hardik made steady progress in junior-level cricket and, according to Krunal, “won a lot of matches single-handedly” in club cricket.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Hardik revealed that he was dropped from his state age-group teams due to his “attitude problems. He added that he was “just an expressive child” who does not like to hide his emotions.
According to his father, Hardik was a leg spinner until the age of 18 and turned to fast bowling at the insistence of the Baroda coach Sanath Kumar.
Pandya has been playing for Baroda cricket team since 2013. He played a vital role in Baroda winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the 2013–14 season. In January 2016, he slammed eight sixes during his innings unbeaten 86 to guide Baroda cricket team to a six-wicket win over Vidarbha cricket team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Indian Premier League
Pandya played for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, in a must-win situation for Mumbai Indians to remain in the race for the top 4 teams, he scored a quickfire 61 off 31 balls to win the match for his side and earn his second man of the match award in the season. He was also awarded the Yes Bank maximum sixes award for the same match.
Ahead of IPL 2022 mega auction, Pandya was released by Mumbai Indians and was drafted by the new Ahmedabad franchise Gujarat Titans as their captain.
Pandya made his Twenty20 International debut for India on 27 January 2016 at the age of 22, picking up 2 wickets against Australia. His first Twenty20 International wicket was Chris Lynn. In the second T20I against Sri Lanka cricket team at Ranchi, he batted ahead of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni and hit 27 off 14 balls before becoming the hat-trick victim of Thisara Perera.
In Asia Cup 2016, Pandya smashed an 18-ball 31 helping India post a respectable score against Bangladesh. Later on, he also picked up a wicket to secure the win. In the next match against Pakistan, he bowled his best figures of 3 for 8 which restricted Pakistan to 83.
In a 2016 World Twenty20 match against Bangladesh on 23 March, Pandya took two crucial wickets in the last three balls of the match’s final over as India beat Bangladesh by one run.
His career best bowling figures of 4 for 38 was achieved in the 3rd and final Twenty20 International against England on 8 July 2018, he got 33 Not Out in 14 balls, hitting the winning runs with a six off Jordan. Hardik became the first Indian to take 4 wickets and score above 30 runs in a T20I in the same match.
In September 2021, Pandya was named in India’s squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. However, Pandya failed to make an impact as was expected. He scored 11 against Pakistan, which India lost by 10 wickets.
His subsequent innings of 23 against New Zealand did not help to further India’s cause in the tournament as losing against New Zealand meant India crashed out of the World Cup despite winning big over inexperienced teams like Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia.
Pandya was picked as an allrounder. However he only bowled 2 overs against New Zealand without picking any wickets and giving away 17 runs. His lack of runs and inability to contribute with the ball led to his dropping from the squad for the T20I series that followed the World Cup against New Zealand.
Pandya made his One Day International (ODI) debut for India against New Zealand on 16 October 2016 at Dharamshala. He became the fourth Indian to be named player of the match on ODI debut after Sandeep Patil, Mohit Sharma and K. L. Rahul. In his first ODI innings as a batsman, he scored 36 runs from 32 balls.
In the group stages of ICC Champions Trophy, Pandya hit three consecutive sixes off Imad Wasim in the same over before rain stopped play. On 18 June 2017, in the final of the Champions Trophy at the Oval, he struck a 43-ball 76 in a losing cause, after coming in with India at 54/5 following a top order collapse.
He was selected in the ODI XI of the year 2017 by Cricinfo.
In April 2019, he was named in India’s squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. On 27 June 2019, in the match against the West Indies, Pandya played in his 50th ODI.
Pandya was included in India’s Test squad for their home series against England in late 2016, but was eventually left out after he injured himself while training in the nets at the PCA Stadium.
He was named in the squad that toured Sri Lanka in July 2017 and played his first Test on 26 July in Galle. In the 3rd and the final Test match against Sri Lanka at Pallekele, Pandya scored his maiden Test century, and set the record for becoming the first Indian batsman to score a Test century just before lunch. He also set the record for scoring the most runs in a single over of a Test innings for India, scoring 26 runs. This century was his first century in international cricket.
Family and Personal Life
Pandya got engaged to an Indian-based Serbian dancer and actress Nataša Stanković on 1 January 2020. On 30 July, their first child, Agastya Pandya, was born.
His brother Krunal Pandya has also played for India and the Mumbai Indians. Their father, Himanshu Pandya passed away in January 2021, following a cardiac arrest.
Published by : Akshita Katoch
Edited by : Khushi Thakur