Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Mayank Markande heaped praises on his senior teammate Hardik Pandya and claimed the flamboyant Indian all-rounder has taken responsibility on his shoulders this year in IPL.
In an exclusive interview to indiatvnews.com, Markande said that experience makes one better and that's what makes Hardik more ferocious this season.
"Experience makes you better, compared to last season, he (Hardik) has taken the responsibility on his shoulders and showed everyone what he can do. With time, players become better and that's the same case with him," Markande told indiatvnews.com.
Talking about his current form, Markande insisted that it is difficult for a bowler to strategize against Pandya.
"He (Hardik) is playing leg spinners brilliantly so obviously it scared me a bit in the nets. The kind of form he is in, every bowler is scared of him. In his current form he will smash you wherever you bowl to him," Markande said.
Last season, Markande’s variations made it difficult for batsmen to decode him, making him a one of the key bowlers for Rohit Sharma. He even held the Purple cap for a short period of time and ended his campaign with 15 wickets in 14 matches.
In the current season, luck didn’t favour him as he went down with fever in the initial stage of the tournament. His teammate Rahul Chahar took his place and established himself as a regular first-team player for the franchise. However, Markande feels strong competition is always healthy in the team and he shares a strong bond with Chahar.
"There is a very good bond between me and Rahul (Chahar). We played together in U19, and now in IPL. I was in the playing XI in the initial stage of the tournament, but then due to fever, I was rested from the side and Rahul grabbed it brilliantly. It was hard luck for me, but there are no issues between us. Strong competition is always good, that is always healthy. Our bond is very strong and we share tips with each other in the nets that helped both of us," Markande added.
The 21-year-old made his mark in his debut Ranji season for Punjab in 2018-19. He was the leading wicket-taker for his side with 29 dismissals in just six matches. He carried on his sublime form with India A and got his maiden senior team call-up against Australia in the T20 series in 2019.
"It was a great feeling because I had a great domestic season. Although it was very unexpected for me as I have never thought of playing for India at this age because I started playing IPL just from the last year. After that, I performed well with the domestic team and India A. I got my debut cap from Virat Kohli so that made it even more special," he said.
On the comparisons between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma's captaincy, Markande stated that he rates both equally, praising their ability to assess the game situation.
"Both Virat bhai and Rohit bhai read the games very well. They asses the game brilliantly, both are legends in their own way. One is the captain of Indian team and other is vice-captain, so I think both approach the game in the same way. Virat bhai works in a different way with some aggression, while Rohit bhai is calm," he added.
Markande is confident that Mumbai Indians are ready to lift their fourth IPL trophy. He gave the credit of Mumbai's success to the collective team effort by players who took responsibility this time after failing to qualify for playoffs last year.
“This year we have a very good team combination. It was there last year also but some hard luck at that time as we even lost some close games. This year everything is going in our way, it’s a collective team effort from every player this year, it's not like that only one player is performing for us, everyone has taken the responsibility," Mayank concluded.