As Hardik Pandya was celebrating his birthday a few days ago, let me tell you all about the time when I met him and my experience of meeting the superstar even before he became a superstar. So Hardik Pandya rose to fame in 2015 after his IPL debut. He then went on to make his International cricket debut in 2016 and managed to grab the headlines instantly.
However, there were mixed opinions about him. While some cricket pundits expected him to be the next big thing in cricket, a few others felt that he was nothing more than just a bits and pieces player. If you were to ask my opinion back then, I would’ve told you that he was a batting all-rounder who needed to work on his bowling. However, things changed after I met him.
It was way back in 2016, this was before It became a habit to meet and interact with the legends of the game. Just before the IPL 2016, I had met Corey Anderson and had a superb interaction with him (He was with the Mumbai Indians back then). It was then when Hardik Pandya came. He was wearing his MI jersey and it looked like he was off to a shoot. He looked at Corey Anderson and savagely said “Training tomorrow in the morning? You’ll be there?” to which Corey Anderson said “Sure….Also meet this guy, he’s a big cricket fan” as he pointed towards me.
I was so excited to look at Hardik Pandya but did realize that he was in a hurry and had to go somewhere. Thus, I kept it short and just introduced myself and told him how his bowling against Bangladesh in the final over during the 2016 T20 WC made me change my opinion about him. On hearing this he thanked me. Before it got too late I asked him for a picture.
Fortunately he obliged. While I couldn’t really call him “Humble”, neither was he arrogant or anything, thus, I couldn’t really make much of his attitude. However, his style is something which I liked. Despite having a poor IPL 2016, he did ultimately go on to become one of India’s best all-rounders and is currently one of the most explosive all-rounders in the world.
Whenever I watch him play, I look at my picture with him and cherish the fact that I got a chance to meet and interact with him. I really hope and pray that he starts playing like before and has a good T20 WC this time around.