After leading the Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their debut season, winning the Twenty20 World Cup with India is next on Hardik Pandya’s bucket list. Hardik Pandya led by example in Sunday’s final against 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals as Gujarat prevailed by seven wickets in front of more than 100,000 fans at their home ground in Ahmedabad.
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Pandya claimed three crucial wickets, including that of tournament top scorer Jos Buttler, to limit Rajasthan to a tally which Gujarat chased with 11 balls to spare.
It also proved that Pandya has fully recovered from a back injury that forced him to play only as a hitter for the past two seasons.
When asked what his next goal would be, the 28-year-old replied: “Absolutely winning the World Cup for India no matter what.” “I’m going to give everything I have. I’ve always been the type of guy to put the team first. For me, the goal will be simple: to make my team get the most out of it.
“It’s always been a pleasure for me to represent the country, long term, short term I want to win the World Cup no matter what.”
Former players, including former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, have praised Pandya’s composed and skilful leadership, which they say was crucial to Gujarat’s victory.
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“Obviously it will be a bit special because I won it as captain,” said Pandya, who had won four IPL titles with the Mumbai Indians before taking on the leading role at Gujarat.