In an interview of Irfan Pathan in New Delhi, a shy young man stood behind my camera-person and watched intently. Once the interview was over, Pathan introduced reporter Hardik Pandya, a member of Baroda’s Ranji Trophy squad. “He is very talented,” Pathan told to the reporter- “He will be playing for India soon.”

A couple of months later, the man, Hardik Pandya, was picked up at base price by the Mumbai Indians team during the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions.

Early life

Pandya was born in Surat, Gujarat while his dad had a small car finance business. He had to move to Baroda after shutting it down to help his sons focus on the game. Pandya and his brother Krunal enrolled in Kiran More’s academy and were not well off financially. They used to live in a rented apartment and travelled in a second-hand car.

Hardik also had to drop out of school in order to facilitate his dream of playing cricket as a full-time professional. Pandya was an expressive child and would be dropped from games because of his fiery attitude. Soon, Krunal revealed that Hardik was winning games single-handedly.

Struggle

After moving to Vadodara, his car-finance business hadn’t picked up in the new city.Being the sole bread-earner of the, he tried doing odd jobs. Familiar with Hamanshu’s struggles, Kiran More refused to charge any fee. During these days Himanshu developed health complications. He is a diabetic patient, suffered three heart attacks in two years. There was no choice but to stop him from work. Then they lost the lone source of income. From there on to till a few years ago Hardik along with Krunal used to play local tournaments, where they would get paid.

In an interview “Yes, two years back I was. There was no name for the tournament. It was just between villages. I would play for teams like Jhambuja XI. What was the fascination? Rs 400. My brother used to get Rs 500. For a week at least, life would be normal.” said Hardik Pandya

They used to stay entire day at the ground and eat five rupees maggi. During Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2104,Hardik didn’t have bats.He used to borrow it from Irfan Pathan.

Rise of  Hardik Pandya

His 82 off 57 balls against Mumbai in west zone match was spotted by then Mumbai Indians coach John Wright. He had seen enough in Hardik Pandya and bought him for his base price 10 lakhs. From there on his life changed dramatically and never look back.

On 16th Oct 2016, he debuted in One Day International & took 3 wickets in his first International itself. Till the day he has been ruling the hearts of Cricket fans with an exceptional average of 53 & strike rate of 140.96! In fact there are thousands of people who watch India’s matches just to see him batting. When it comes to the most inspirational success stories in today’s Indian youth, Hardik Pandya is the name that inevitably strikes in our mind!