Flamboyant India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is one of the players who got into the national team on the basis of his Indian Premier League performance. Pandya was bought by Mumbai Indians in 2015 season at a base price of INR 10 Lakh. The Baroda player proved his worth and scored 112 runs in 9 matches at a strike rate of 180.64.
In the next season, things didn't go in his favour as he scored only 44 runs in 11 matches. Pandya, recently, opened up on his rough phase during IPL 2016 and why he failed to perform in that season.
Pandya admitted to enduring a phase in his career when he went "off the board" and tried too hard to fit in based on other people's opinion of him.
"In 2016, I had worst year in IPL. I was kind of distracted. In 2015 I got success, in 2016, because the way I am, not many people were able to take it. Also it was a new thing for me," Hardik Pandya told Cricbuzz.
"May be I went off board and got so many suggestions. You have to be calm, act with people in certain manner. I tried that. Stopped talking to people and didn't style my hair and it hurt my game," he said.
Pandya said that he learnt that it's better to be natural from that phase. (Also Read | Hardik Pandya reveals how he dealt with Koffee with Karan fiasco)
"What was happening back then was I was focussing on uncontrollable, which is people's opinion. In that phase I learnt that it's better to be myself," he added.
Pandya further said that it was Ricky Ponting who looked after him in the toughest time and called him a father figure. (Also Read | Hardik Pandya and Natasa Stankovic to become parents)
"In 2015, someone who looked after me the best was Ricky Ponting. He looked after me as a child. I felt like he was a father figure for me. Learnt so much. Whatever I have learnt it's in my early days.
Pandya revealed that Ponting used to sit with him before he went to bat, which helped him in understanding situations and mindset.
"Ricky taught me situations, mindsets. He used to sit with me before I went into bat. I would sit near boundary rope and call Ricky. He would sit with me and tell me what's happening. So I grasped and learnt quickly," he revealed.