'I went against his wish' — When Hardik Pandya went against Ashish Nehra's decision in the IPL 2022 final
Gujarat Titans (GT) have been the most successful team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since their admission to the competition last year. GT clinched the title in their first attempt last season and are going strong this year as well, where they have won 6 of the nine games and sitting at the top of the points table.
Their captain Hardik Pandya, and the head coach, Ashish Nehra, have formed a successful duo to help the team grow by leaps and bounds. There is a mutual understanding between these two, which has been confirmed by Hardik Pandya himself a few times.
Both of them have a similar cricketing brain, which has helped a team massively right from the start. Most of their tactics that seemed weird in the first place have eventually turned out to be the correct moves almost every time.
Both Ashish Nehra, who has all the experience in the world, and Hardik Pandya, who has now played enough cricket, have kept the mood light in the dressing room. Even if things haven’t gone right in the match, they have made sure to keep the morale high.
Hardik Pandya recalls an incident when he denied Ashish Nehra’s advice
Whenever Ashish Nehra provides the inputs, Hardik Pandya obeys without even thinking twice. However, Hardik Pandya reveals an incident where he went against Ashish Nehra and made his own decision on the field.
“The only time I went against his wish was in the final. Rashid Khan generally never bowls his third over around the 12-over mark. I always gave him 14th and 16th over. I always believed Rashid is at his best when people target him. When people play him around, he may take wickets, but Rashid is my ace. I have to use the ace most effectively,” stated Hardik in a podcast.
“Ashu Pa gestured to me to bowl Sai Kishore. I called Sai, but then I stopped. I look at the score… '11 overs are down, I've bowled 2 and given away 6. Buttler has scored 35 runs, and he's batting at a run-a-ball. Devdutt is 2 off 9. This is the over they will have to target. If a left-handed Padikkal targets Sai and hits two sixes, he may get back to the rhythm. What seems like a 150-odd score may become 170'. In the final, those 20 extra runs would make a big difference. I knew Buttler also wants to open up, so this over was important.”
“I asked Sai to wait and gave the ball to Rashid. He bowled a quiet over and got Devdutt's wicket. Buttler was planning to explode, but after losing Devdutt and playing one batter short, Buttler, instead of playing his natural game, continued to be in his shell. Because of that, he became tentative and eventually got out. For me, that was the only time I went against his wishes,” Hardik concluded.
The move by captain Hardik Pandya turned out to be a masterstroke. Gujarat Titans went on to win the game and bag the coveted trophy.