They get paid for what they say, I am not much into it, Hardik Pandya hits back at critics

Pandya came under severe criticism for his performance in the first two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya of India holds up the ball as his leaves the field after taking a five-wicket haul. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

He was being continuously trolled over past several months for not being able to fulfill the desire of becoming India’s next Kapil Dev. Now, after picking his first five-wicket haul in Tests (and also internationally), all-rounder Hardik Pandya got his opportunity to answer the critics and he grabbed it with both hands after the end of the second day’s play in the third Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday, August 19.

Pandya took five wickets for 28 runs in eight overs to run through England’s middle and lower order as the hosts were bowled out for 161 in their first innings in reply to India’s 329. The visitors were 124 for 2 in their second innings at stumps, gaining a robust overall lead of 292 runs.


I play for my country

Pandya, who met the press at the end of the day’s play, said on him being compared to the legendary all-rounder: “Comparisons are fine. But the problem with this (comparison) is that all of a sudden when something goes wrong and they are like he is not that. I have never wanted to be Kapil Dev. Let me be Hardik Pandya. I am good at being Hardik Pandya, and I have reached here till now played 40 ODIs and 10 Tests being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev.”

Pandya averaged 32.71 with the bat and 39.30 with the ball in Tests before he took the field at Trent Bridge. “They have created their era, let me be Hardik Pandya. Let’s stop comparing me with anyone. I will be happy if you don’t.”

Taking a dig at the critics, the 24-year-old all-rounder said: “I don’t play for them (critics). They are getting paid for saying things which I don’t even want to know or care. I play for my country. I am doing the right thing. My team is happy with me, nothing else matters.”

“I am happier with taking a five-wicket haul than scoring a hundred. I have taken very few five-wicket hauls. I think this is the second of my life, and it has come at a very important place/juncture so I am very happy.” Pandya’s only other fifer is in a first-class game.

Pandya came under severe criticism for his performance in the first two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s with even former Windies great Michael Holding questioning his place in the team.

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