GT vs RR, IPL 2022 final – Hardik Pandya’s next goal after five IPL titles

GT vs RR, IPL 2022 final – Hardik Pandya’s next goal after five IPL titles

Five IPL finals, five titles. One, now, as captain in his first season with a debuting team representing his home state of Gujarat. Player of the match performance in this final, including wickets from the opposition big three. Still, Hardik Pandya’s biggest goal in life is to win a World Cup with India. Moments after collecting the winners’ trophy and completing his other obligations, Hardik was asked what his short and long-term goals are now that he has made a successful comeback after injury issues took away his bowling, and hence his place in the Indian sides.

“Absolutely to win the World Cup for India no matter what,” Hardik said. “I’m going to give it my all. I’ve always been that kind of guy, putting the team first. For me, the goal will be simple: make my team get the most out of it.

“Playing for India has always been kind of a dream come true no matter how many games I’ve played. It’s always been a pleasure for me to represent the country. The kind of love and support that I have, it’s only Indian from the team point of view. Long term, short term, I want to win the World Cup no matter what.”

Hardik came close to winning a world title with India three times, but all three ended in heartbreak. In 2016, their final against Bangladesh took India to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, but India lost to West Indies. In the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan next year, he showed some of his striking prowess in barely believable innings, but it was too little too late. In the 2019 World Cup semi-final, Hardik and Rishabh Pant made a mini save after three opening wickets, but New Zealand ultimately prevailed.

In the IPL, however, Hardik has won every time he reached the playoffs, four times with Mumbai Indians and now with Gujarat Titans. When asked if it was a bit special, Hardik said yes, but fair.

“Obviously it will be a bit special because I won it as captain,” he said. “The four I have won before that are also special. Winning the IPL is always special. I consider myself very lucky to have made five finals and lifted the trophy five times. Obviously it will leave a legacy because We’re a new franchise, playing for the first time, and we were champions in season one, but the four I won before that were just as special.

It will also be a personal vindication for him and coach Ashish Nehra, who has invested more energy in building a strong bowling team. They entered each match with six front row options – if you count Hardik the bowler – and Rahul Tewatia as a seventh substitute bowler. Hardik said that was their philosophy from the start.

“Specifically, we both have [Nehra and he] lean towards the bowlers,” Hardik said. “People say T20 is a batting game, but I’ve always argued that bowlers win you games. Because if the batters aren’t getting a normal score, if you have a pistol bowling lineup, the bowlers can roll things back. We always gave ten runs less [than par]. Even when others conceded 190, we put ten less. These ten races make you win or lose matches overall.

“For me and Ashu Pennsylvania [Nehra], when we started, we wanted to create a solid and experienced bowling unit. So even if there are times when the batters don’t click, you can retire with the bowling.”

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