India all-rounder Hardik Pandya had a volatile year in 2019 as he made a good comeback after suffering from a severe back injury, had surgery for it, and made it just in time for the 2019 World Cup.
However, in the same year, Hardik faced his toughest challenge as he was suspended by BCCI for a controversial appearance on a talk show along with KL Rahul. Hardik was reprimanded for his statements which offended a lot of people. Rahul and Pandya had to miss out on the majority of the tours of Australia and New Zealand due to the suspension.
Talking about the episode in conversation with ESPNCricinfo, Hardik said: “When I heard I was going to get suspended, a lot of cricketers who knew me personally, who knew what kind of an individual I am, they went out and spoke about it, which is fine. They thought I was done. I heard lots of people saying, ‘Hardik’s done, he won’t be able to cope with this.’ Because I was the bad boy of Indian cricket at that time.”
“At the Chinnaswamy [Bengaluru], while practicing, I was missing the ball by this much (shows a wide gap). Because when this is not right (points to head) and when you question yourself, things just go wrong. That day I cried during training because there was a lot of emotion. Because of how I was portrayed [after the talk-show incident]. I was never that individual. I was not able to concentrate on my sport because there was a lot of expectation from myself, leave anyone else,” he added.
Hardik has since then become part of the India white-ball squad though he has not played a Test match since 2018 due to problems in bowling due to his problematic back. The Baroda all-rounder is with the Indian squad for the ICC men’s T20 World Cup in UAE and India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.