India all-rounder Hardik Pandya had a brilliant Australia tour where he gathered 268 runs at 89.33 in the white-ball tour and even bagged the Player of the Series award in the T20I series. Playing his first series with India this year, Pandya first sparked with the bat in the ODI series, finishing as the team's highest run-scorer in three games.
The Baroda player looked in sublime touch with the bat, registering impressive scores of 90 and 92* in the first and third ODI respectively. He followed it with a match-winning 42* in the second T20I, where he slammed two sixes in the last over when India needed 14 runs to win. Pandya's blistering knock was vital in India gaining an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20I affair.
Struggling to bowl post his back injury, Pandya was slotted in the squad as a batsman who can finish in death overs. He excelled in his duties and powered India's run-flow with his big-hitting innings.
The Surat-born struck a purple patch and fans even backed him to stay back and play only as a batsman in the Test series, scheduled to start with the pink-ball game from December 17. Pandya, however, wasn't in the team management's plans.
"It is a different ball game, I feel. I don't mind [playing the Tests]. [But] the call has already been made about it. So I can't do much about it," he had said after his blazing knock in the second T20I.
Pandya is now spending time with his family members upon his return to India. He took his partner Natasa Stankovic out for dinner on Wednesday. Natasa shared pictures from their outing on her Instagram. "My Dinner Date," wrote Natasa.
Last week, Pandya had shared a picture with son Agastya after reuniting with him after four months. Before the Australia series, the all-rounder was in the UAE with his IPL franchise, Mumbai Indians (MI).
The Mumbai-based outfit managed to defend its title by defeating Delhi Capitals (DC) in the final of the tournament. Though Pandya didn't bowl a single over for MI, he had an impressive stint with the bat where he scored 281 runs at an explosive strike-rate of almost 180.