Ricky Ponting Looked To Me As A Child: Hardik Pandya > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Ricky Ponting looked after me like a child: Hardik Pandya

On February 16, 2015, life took a turn in a new direction for Hardik Pandya, for he was among the 67 players picked up by franchises ahead of the eighth edition of the IPL. Yuvraj Singh (INR. 16 Crores) and Dinesh Karthik (INR. 10.5 Crores) were the biggest buys, while Hardik, an all-rounder from Baroda who was an unknown entity outside the domestic cricket circles, was selected by Mumbai Indians at his base price of INR. 10 Lakhs.

In a domestic T20 match against a bowling attack that included Zaheer Khan, Hardik scored a quick-fire 82. The knock was watched by Mumbai Indians' scout John Wright, who recommended Hardik's name to Akash Ambani and Nita Ambani, who were also present at the Reliance Stadium. Thus entered Hardik into the Mumbai Indians' mix.

Once he came into the MI setup, as a young cricketer looking for direction, Hardik was guided by Ricky Ponting. The former Australia captain used to treat him like a child and even sit down beside him next to the hoardings, speaking about the game and teaching him many things, Hardik revealed in a chat with Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz in Conversation.

"Ricky Ponting was someone who looked after me the best. He looked after me like a child. I used to feel like he was my father figure there. Ricky taught me so many things, he taught me situations, he taught me mindset, how strong you should be. As a new boy in 2015, I used to sit next to the hoardings. Ricky used to sit down with me and speak about the game. (With all these conversations) I started learning quickly."

Kieron Pollard, the West Indies all-rounder, was one of the senior players in the Mumbai Indians team whose game, according to Hardik, resembled his very closely. And Hardik, who developed a good bond with Pollard, called the West Indian his 'brother'. "We have such beautiful relations, our families are in touch. We talk despite all the time differences in the West Indies, we make sure we talk at least once in a month. I look up to him as my senior, my role model.

"I never had one specific role model. I always wanted to learn from the best, different things from different people, and I wanted to combine that in my game - Mahi bhai's calmness, Virat's hunger. From 2015, when I made it to the IPL, I always wanted to learn from people. That's when I realised that Polly is someone who relates to my game."

In 2015, in a team filled with stars and young players in equal measure, Hardik shared the dressing room with an up-and-coming pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who would, a few years down the line, become one of the leading quicks in the world.

"Jassi is a very different character. He's calm, but he's someone who likes to be left alone. If he has to talk to someone then he'll initiate the conversation," said Hardik. "I can never be like him even if I try. He's knowledgeable, well-spoken, thinking 20 times before speaking. But he's someone who I enjoy being with. We have got success together and have genuinely shared success."

For more such stories from Hardik Pandya, tune in to Part 1, Part 2and Part 3 of the latest Cricbuzz in Conversation episode

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