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Watch: Hardik Pandya recreates iconic Asia Cup gesture with India in trouble vs Sri Lanka in 1st T20I, drips confidence

Hardik Pandya as captain of the Indian cricket team is like a breath of fresh air. Pandya is calm, composed and uniquely fun while captaining – be it leading on the ground or addressing press conferences. Pandya has openly spoken about the need to back this young team which he is in charge of, which in turn promises a longer rope for most youngsters. During the first T20I in Mumbai, with Sri Lanka needing 12 to win off the last over, Pandya handed the ball to Axar Patel with a long-term plan of subjecting his players to tough situations. Pandya’s methods are unique, rare and fresh, and its impact is visible in the fact that India is yet to lose a match he has captained in.

Pandya returned to top-flight cricket during the Asia Cup, where not only did he bowl with pace but also produced a match-winning knock against Pakistan in the group-stage fixture. Pandya first picked up three wickets and later when the equation seemed tough, smoked a six in the last-over to win the thrilling match. However, before Pandya’s glory-shot, an uber-confidence gesture from him got everyone talking. After playing a dot ball, Pandya nodded his head, almost saying ‘I’ve got this’ and took India over the line. The nod went on to become viral, a fodder for meme-creators and went down as one of the most iconic sights in Indian cricket of the year 2022.

Also Read: Watch – Hardik Pandya’s selfless reaction to Sanju Samson’s drop catch off his bowling proves he’s a true leader

On Tuesday, Pandya recreated the act with his team once again in trouble. Pandya walked out after Sanju Samson had fallen cheaply reducing India to 46/3, and immediately upon entering the ground, Pandya fist bumped Ishan Kishan and re-produced the grand nod-of-the-head. “Here he walks in… and just look at that confidence. Almost like ‘Let’s go for it. Ishan, don’t worry. You keep going. Go for it,'” Murali Kartik said on air while commentating.

Watch the video below:

And rightly so. The manner in which Pandya began his innings dripped the same self-belief. After taking a single off the first ball, Pandya drilled back-to-back boundaries off Chamika Karunaratne and belted Wanindu Hasaranga down the ground with a bullet shot that almost broke the Sri Lanka spinner’s hands. Pandya then picked up his fourth boundary and scored 29 off 26 balls before edging Dilshan Madushanka to lose his wicket.

With the ball, Hardik gave India the near-perfect start. He took the new ball himself and made the Sri Lankan batter hop, often making them clueless with his vicious inswingers and outswingers. Second ball, Pandya had the chance to pick up a wicket after Pathum Nissanka top edged a flick but Sanju Samson at mid-on dropped a sitter diving fully to his right. Despite the drop, Pandya wore a smile on his face.

Although later, that smile was replaced by a frown when Samson and Chahal misfielded to conceded boundaries, Pandya maintained his temperament throughout the match and everytime his teammates picked up a wicket, the beaming smiles were back as he celebrated the dismissals with his bowlers and fielders.


Desk Team