From Surviving each day on Maggie to Sipping Coffee on the couch of Koffee With Karan, Hardik Pandya Has Indeed Come A Long Way!
Hardik Pandya might be many things, but one – a careless cricketer. The harder he parties today is justified by the years of struggle he and his family had to endure to make sure his cricket continues. People think he is a gifted cricketer, but no; it is years of him surviving on Maggie, walking miles to play local tournaments for pennies, and sacrificing every comfort of life that makes him one of the many players to watch out for in the upcoming World Cup 2019 tournament.
Hardik Pandya is a stalwart of the Indian cricket, who is currently a part of the world cup squad. He otherwise plays domestic cricket for Baroda and for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. He shot to fame with his half-century against KKR in his IPL debut, as well as his single-handed 8-ball 21 runs finishing blow to the Chennai Super Kings.
His rising fame in the cricket world landed him on the glamorous couch of ‘Koffee With Karan’ which led to many controversies, especially for his bold comments on his dating life. The 25-year-old all-rounder’s attitude and lifestyle have been under the magnifying glass ever since. However, the hint of arrogance, street-smart attitude and extremely hip sense of dressing completely hide the real person that he is.
Hardik Pandya, son to Himanshu Pandya and brother to Krunal Pandya, is undoubtedly the apple of everyone’s eye at home. The Pandya family had their fair share of struggle, that they willingly undertook to pave way for the success of the Pandya brothers. It was not just the financial struggle, but the sacrifice and support of his parents as well, that has taken Hardik Pandya to the epitome of success. His father, Himanshu Pandya, owned a small car finance business in Surat, which he shut down and moved to Baroda just to provide his sons with better coaching facilities. His father was ready to manage in a rented apartment, but not compromise on his children’s training. He enrolled them into Kiran More’s Cricket Academy. Even though they saw the silver lining, the storm was yet to be battled!
In his initial cricketing days, Hardik would survive on nothing but Maggi for the whole day, along with his brother. “My brother and I used to get Maggi for Rs. 5 and we used to request the gardener to give us hot water and we used to prepare and eat it at the ground for lunch and breakfast, 365 days non-stop.”
“Din bhar ground pe pade rehte tha. Bahar udhari bahut ho gayi thi, jeetna aata woh turant chala jata. 10 rupees chodho, 5 rupees ke bhi vande tha (we spent the whole day at the ground. I was in deep debts and whatever money I earned sufficed only for paying the debts. Forget Rs 10, I didn’t even have Rs 5).”
His father’s business failed to pick up in Baroda, and the family clenched fists to make ends meet. Aware of their father’s burden, Krunal and Hardik, barely teenagers at the time started supporting their family by playing in local village tournaments for the sake of Rs. 400 or Rs.500. Through these tournaments, Hardik realised that if he had any chance of making it big in life, it was only through cricket. Hence, he dropped out of school to practice 14-16 hours a day.
“There was no name for the tournament. It was just between villages. I would play for teams like Jhambuja XI. What was the fascination? Rs 400. My brother used to get Rs 500. For a week at least, life would be normal.”
Hardik was quite fierce on field and began to win games single-handedly. Even though he was dropped from many games because of his aggressive attitude, he became a sensation in domestic cricket. However, he was so broke that during Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2104, Hardik could not even own a bat. He had to borrow it from Irfan Pathan.
A talent of Hardik Pandya’s calibre cannot go unnoticed. His big break came when he was selected for Rs. 10 lakhs for the Mumbai Indians, and eventually assumed the role of the much needed All-rounder that the then Indian team skipper, MS Dhoni was looking for.
“No one knew who Hardik Pandya was, before 2015 IPL. I got picked for Rs 10 lakhs.”
While his personal life would be a subject of discussion for many, as far as his cricket abilities are concerned, we hear only good things. Hardik recalls one such incident when Sachin Tendulkar, after one of his IPL performance said, “The way you are playing, in one and a half years you are going to play for India.” I was like, whoa!”
Sachin could indeed see the future of Indian cricket in Hardik. Hardik might have become famous as the bad boy, but nobody can shy away from the fact that the boy has put in every ounce of his blood, sweat, and time to chase his dreams. From a simple boy playing gully cricket for mere Rs. 400 to the Indian team player who can change the course of the match with his spell, Hardik has come a long way on hiw own. In his own words,
“All those days are gone, what a life it was! I tell myself I have ‘dum’. Or else how could I have reached here? How could you enjoy life when there is no struggle. Just imagine when we came to play in Mumbai during the under-19 days, we used to take photographs with Trident Hotel as backdrop. Years later, I stayed there.”.