New Delhi: Over the past few months, all-rounder Hardik Pandya has become an integral part of the Indian national team set-up and he has credited his meteoric rise to former India captain Rahul Dravid.
In a conversation with Indian Express, Pandya said that Dravid displayed immense trust in his talents during his stint with the India A team and that worked wonders for him.
"When I got the call (into the national team), I was really excited and thought God wants me to do something nice. Let’s put everything in this tour, and it worked, and I made my comeback to the Indian team in two-and-a-half months when many said I wouldn’t come back even in 2 years. I should thank Rahul Sir as well, he went out of his way and talked me up," Pandya was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
"I still remember when I got out a couple of times in the one-dayers, he used to ask me to come and sit next to him and tell me, "Hardik you are the one guy who has the talent to represent India, so you need to express yourself and take charge of situations," revealed Pandya.
I still remember I ran myself out in the league game against Australia A. We needed some 23 off 19 balls then, and I thought this will be easy, but then we lost by 1 run. He was not angry. He just said that, "You should start finishing the games. That’s what you’ll be doing for India.” And I thought if Rahul Dravid has this belief in me, I should also start believing that I can finish games," the India all-rounder said.
Hardik is part of the 15-member India squad which will defend the ICC Champions Trophy crown in England starting June 1.
The all-rounder will be confident of doing well in the tournament as he was in good form in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League, where he played a major role in helping Mumbai left their third title.
Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
June 4: India v Pakistan, Birmingham, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 8: India v Sri Lanka, London, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 11: India v South Africa, London, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)