Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has got a nod in the national squad for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, has revealed that the forced break from the game had allowed him to work on his game and mindset ahead of the mega event.
The MSK Prasad-led selection committee on Monday named the 25-year-old all-rounder in the much-awaited 15-member Indian squad for the ICC World Cup, which is slated to take place from May 30 to July 14 in England and Wales.
While Pandya is all set to make his maiden appearance in the quadrennial event, he had endured quite a tough time a while back.
Pandya had to return home during India's tour to Australia in December after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) imposed a provisional suspension on him and his fellow team-mate KL Rahul for their sexist remarks during a celebrity chat show.
The all-rounder, however, was allowed to resume the game during the away series against New Zealand before a lower back injury once again ruled him out of the limited-overs series against Australia at home in March.
Talking about his time on the sidelines, Pandya said that everyone learns from a setback and the time he spent out of the national team has also put him in a good headspace.
“It’s okay. Everyone has a setback. I wanted to improve and I got some time for my body as well. I think the time I spent out is helping me right now because I’m in a good mind space and everything is coming right," the ICC quoted Pandya as saying.
Pandya has now put all his hardships behind and returned to the game with a bang, amassing 186 runs in eight games he has played for Team Mumbai in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
And the all-rounder admitted that it is important to draw inspiration from these performances heading into the World Cup.
“It’s important to always have the confidence behind you because World Cup is a big stage. It’s for the first time I’m playing, and for me it was important to keep hitting the ball well because I was away from the game for some time, and coming back, it was important for me to hit it," he added.
He continued his attacking game on Monday when he notched up a match-winning knock of 37 runs off just 16 balls under pressure situation to help Mumbai chase down a good target of 172 runs against Bangalore with 6 balls to spare on Monday.
“I guess I’ve been doing this for four years now,” he said. “That’s my role, any team I play for. I’ve been practising the same at the nets. It’s all about situations, you play according to situations, and if you’re smart enough, you’ll more often than not get the result that you desire," he added.
Overall, Pandya has appeared in a total of 45 matches for the Men in Blue in the 50-over format and amassed 731 runs besides bagging 44 wickets in it.
India will kickstart their campaign at the 2019 ICC World Cup against South Africa on June 5.