Former India head coach Ravi Shastri heaped praise on Hardik Pandya, saying the Gujarat Titans captain is showcasing a ‘burning desire’ to win the IPL 2022 trophy with the newbies.
Speaking after Gujarat Titans booked their place in the IPL 2022 final on Tuesday, May 24, Shastri said he has been impressed with the way Hardik has gone about his business in his first stint as a captain of an IPL team.
Gujarat became the first team to book a place in the final as the table-toppers defeated Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets, successfully chasing down 189 in Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Hardik led from the front with the bat, scoring a crucial 40 not out as he stitched a 106-run partnership with David Miller in a well-paced chase.
“There is a burning desire to win, being a team from Gujarat, the final is in Gujarat, he wants to take that there,” Ravi Shastri told Star Sports.
Hardik is Gujarat’s leading run-getter in IPL 2022 as the all-rounder has reveled in his new role of batting at No. 4. The former Mumbai Indians star has scored 453 runs in 14 matches at an average of 45.30.
Questions were asked about Gujarat’s batting prowess after the IPL 2022 mega auction, but Hardik has led from the front, doing the bulk of the work at the top of the order even as the openers have been going hit and miss.
‘CAPTAINCY HAS HELPED HIS BATTING’
Shastri, who worked closely with Hardik during his tenure as head coach, said Hardik always wanted to bat higher up the order and captaincy has only done wonders to his batting.
“He has tremendous confidence in his ability. He reads the game extremely well. He always wanted to bat higher up the order He can bat like a No. 4 batter. He reads the situations of the game, he reads the conditions, he knows his role and what is required and for captaining the side, the added responsibility has done wonders to his batting,” Shastri added.
Shastri lauded Hardik for taking a backseat and let Miller do the heavy-lifting during their partnership. Notably, when 17 runs were needed off 6 deliveries, Miller hit 3 sixes in the first 3 balls of the final over to take Gujarat past the finish line.
“He can play both ways, make no mistake about it. If he were on strike for the final over, he might have done exactly what David Miller did. He kept his cool,” Shastri added.