DHARAMSALA: After being on the sidelines for months due to his lower back injury, Hardik Pandya is now expected to make his comeback to the international cricket in the upcoming 3-match ODI series against South Africa. The series will commence here on Thursday at 1:30 pm.
While being in an interview with fellow teammate Yuzvendra Chahal, Pandya spoke about all the mental struggles he had to go through while he was away from the field. He played his last international match in September 2019 post which he underwent surgery for his injury and was rested. If he gets chosen for the first ODI that will be played on India's turf on Thursday, this will be his first ODI after July 2019.
Speaking about how much he missed being on the field and performing for his country, Pandya said, "I missed this atmosphere the most in these last six months, playing for the country and the feeling you get wearing the team's colors. That had become a mental challenge and there were a lot of setbacks. I was trying to get back to full fitness quickly but that did not work out and a lot of mental pressure came at the time. But touchwood, everything went fine, the rehabilitation went well and a lot of people helped me."
Earlier, he was expected to make a comeback to team India in the recently concluded India's tour to New Zealand but did not make it to the A squad as he was yet to recover.
Recently, he proved what the country has been missing out when he smashed two tons in the DY Patil T20 Cup while playing for Reliance-1. In the second century, he smashed an unbeaten 158 runs in just 55 balls with 20 sixes and six fours.
About his innings and his performance in the whole tournament, Hardik said, "It was important. I had not played anything for six and a half months. I wanted to make an international comeback so it was very important for my confidence. No matter how much you practice, the match situation is always different."
He further added, "So I just kept on playing, my confidence kept improving and the sixes were coming off well. I thought if they are coming off well, why should I stop and I kept going. But I never thought that I want to hit 20 sixes in an innings."