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'He Wanted me to Make My Own Mistakes And Learn': Hardik Pandya on How MS Dhoni Helped Him Grow as a Cricketer

Hardik Pandya made his international debut under MS Dhoni. (AFP Photo)

Hardik Pandya made his international debut under MS Dhoni. (AFP Photo)

Allrounder Hardik Pandya reveals how MS Dhoni let him be and learn from his own mistakes during the early part of his international career.

Hardik Pandya says he’s learnt a lot from two-time world cup winning captain MS Dhoni under whom he made his international debut back in January 2016. Pandya says that in the initial days of his career, he found it strange why Dhoni wasn’t instructing him how to bowl but later on realised it was the former India captain’s way of letting him learn from his own mistakes.

“Obviously, I have learned a lot from everyone, especially Mahi bhai. When I went there I was a raw material. They way he groomed me, he wanted me to make my own mistakes and learn,” Pandya said on Back Stage With Boria.

Also Read: Pandya Confirms He’s Preparing to Play as an Allrounder in IPL 2022

Pandya says that nearly every cricketer who has made it to the Indian team from the domestic setup has a guide in a senior player who helps them out in every match (of first-class career).

So when Pandya made his international debut, he thought that a senior player like Dhoni will always be there to help him out if anything goes wrong. However, he was in for a surprise.

“Not many people know that in first-class cricket, you generally have a senior player who guides you in all the matches,” Pandya said. “I think 99.9 per cent of those who have come up to the Indian team have been from that sort of culture.”

He continued, “When I came there (India debut), I was like MS Dhoni is there, so everything will be looked after. (But) I was like why Mahi bhai is not saying a lot, not telling me where to bowl. But later on, I realised that he actually wanted me to learn on my own so that I can survive. That point of time I didn’t realise because I was on back foot.”

Pandya made his India debut during a T20I against Australia in Adelaide and recovered from an expensive first over to finish with 2/37 from his four overs.

Pandya recalled how he thought his international career is over after having leaked 19 runs in his first over. However, he was in for another surprise.

“In my debut, I gave 24-25 runs (19 runs) and post that I genuinely thought this is my first and last game (for India). But then he (Dhoni) called me for a second over. I was fielding at extra cover and looked behind before confirming if it’s (actually) me (he was asking for).

“He (Dhoni) never showed that he’s there. He wanted me to be rough, to be learning everything on my own but I knew he was always standing behind me,” Pandya added.

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first published:January 25, 2022, 14:53 IST