Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar had plenty of words of praise for Gujarat Titans (GT) skipper, Hardik Pandya, who led the team to their maiden IPL trophy in the very first attempt.
Hardik produced a memorable performance in the final against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Sunday, taking 3 wickets and scoring 34 to help GT chase down 131 and send the Ahmedabad stadium into delirium.
GT’s run is one of the best-ever as they won 10 matches out of 14 in the league stage before beating RR twice – once in Qualifier 1 and then in the grand final. It was all made possible by their leader, who was calm and composed throughout the season.
“Sometimes when the cameras are on, these guys know what demeanor to carry. This guy was genuinely relaxed. Even when he gets all those big wickets, he is able to control himself.”
“During our time, we had a Vinod Kambli, who had a flamboyant nature, but when it came to batting, he was very sensible and measured. The same thing can be said about Hardik,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying in a conversation with ESPNcricinfo.
“We saw him being comfortable in the role after five matches” – Sanjay Manjrekar
Giving Hardik the captaincy was a huge gamble but it worked out for the franchise. Not only did he marshal his troops well, but Hardik also ended up being the top scorer for his team and also bowled crucial overs in the powerplay.
“There was no way we were able to make a judgment for sure because we didn’t see him captaining India or at the domestic level, which he doesn’t seem to be interested in. It was another gamble.”
“It’s not because they have gone on to win the title. We saw him being comfortable in the role after five matches in the IPL,” he further said.