New Delhi: India Premier League (IPL) 2022 winning skipper Hardik Pandya made a strong comeback to the Indian cricket team as he took the field in the first T20 international match played between India and South Africa at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday. Pandya made a tremendous comeback to the national squad. The all-rounder played a flamboyant knock of 31 runs in just 12 balls with help of two fours and three sixes in his innings which helped India post a massive 211-run target for Proteas. The last time Hardik played for team India was back in the 2021 T20 World Cup. Hardik even bowled in the series opener, putting concerns regarding his all-around abilities away.

Ahead of Ind vs SA 1st T20, Hardik Pandya talked about the struggles he faced while preparing for his much-awaited comeback to the Indian cricket team.

“Emotional-wise I was pretty alright. Obviously, I was happy but for me, it was more about the battle which I won against myself and kind of other things as well. Even qualifying was a big deal for me because a lot of people doubted us before we started. A lot of things were said for me before I made a comeback. For me, it was never about giving them answers but I was just proud of the process that I followed,” said Hardik to Star Sports.

“I’ve gotten up at 5 am in the morning to make sure I train and then make sure that the second time I train at 4 pm and give myself enough rest. I slept almost those four months at 9:30 pm. A lot of sacrifices were made but for me, it was the battle which I fought before playing the IPL. After seeing the result, it was more satisfying for me, as a cricketer,” he added.

IPL 2022 winning captain Hardik Pandya has been made the vice-captain of team India for Ind vs SA five-match T20 series with Rishabh Pant as skipper.

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