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December 5, 2020

The Chhattisgarh

Beyond The Region

Hardik Pandya calls Ricky Ponting ‘father-figure’, says he helped him grow during toughest phase

India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya has credited Australian legend and his IPL team’s the then head coach Ricky Ponting for helping him out in dealing with one of the ‘toughest phases’ of his cricketing career.

“In 2015, someone who looked after me the best was Ricky Ponting. He looked after me as a child. I felt like he was a father figure for me. Learnt so much. Whatever I have learnt it’s in my early days,” Pandya was quoted by the PTI news agency.

Pandya, who recently announced his ladylove Natasa Stankovic’s pregnancy, also said that Ricky taught him situations, mindsets and that the Australian great used to talk to him before he went in to bat. 

“I would sit near boundary rope and call Ricky. He would sit with me and tell me what’s happening. So, I grasped and learnt quickly,” said Pandya.

Pandya has been struggling with his injuries from the past few years and according to 2016 was his worst IPL season and that he was kind of distracted.

Pandya, who made his IPL debut in 2015 for the Mumbai Indians, said, “I got success in 2015, in 2016, because the way I am, not many people were able to take it and it was also a new thing for me.”\

“Maybe I went off-board and got so many suggestions. You have to be calm, act with people in a certain manner. I tried that. Stopped talking to people and didn’t style my hair and it hurt my game,” added Pandya.

He opined, “What happened back then was that I was focussing on uncontrollable, which is people’s opinion. In that phase, I learnt that it’s better to be myself.”

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