New Delhi,UPDATED: Apr 15, 2023 09:46 IST
By India Today Sports Desk: Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya made a stunning revelation that he got a call from Lucknow Super Giants before joining GT and was close to joining them due to his friendship with KL Rahul.
The Titans and Super Giants are the league’s most recent additions, with the LSG naming KL Rahul as captain. Hardik has now revealed that he got a call from LSG and things would have been different had Ashish Nehra not approached him for the role of GT’s captaincy ahead of IPL 2022.
“I did get a call from the other franchise (Lucknow Super Giants) as well, which was a new franchise in IPL. Someone who I knew (KL Rahul) was leading the team. For me, it was very important, considering the stage at which I was, where I really wanted to play with a person who has known me,” Hardik told Gaurav Kapoor on Gujarat Titans’ podcast.
Gujarat Titans had a fantastic season in the Indian Premier League 2022 as they won the title in their inaugural edition and one of the key reasons for their success was captain Hardik Pandya. Hardik returned to cricket after a nearly six-month break, finishing as the side’s highest run-scorer and guiding the side to a resounding victory in its inaugural campaign; he eventually returned to India’s limited-overs squads and captained the side in all T20Is this year.
“I always found that people who know me have a different perspective than people who have never come across or come close to me. When I got the opportunity to work with someone I know, I was very keen to go to that side,” Hardik said further.
The all-rounder then discusses how a phone call from Ashish Nehra, who later became Titans’ head coach, changed his mind. Nehra attempted to persuade Hardik to join the team, stating that the all-rounder would lead the team.
“But then Ashu pa called me. At that time, the team also didn’t have permission to be part of the IPL. It was very haywire, things weren’t even settled. He said, ‘I’m going to be the coach. It isn’t fixed yet, but I will be coach’. I was like, ‘Ashu pa, if you weren’t there, I wouldn’t have even considered this because you’re saying thisâ€æ I’ve always felt you are one person who has understood what I am,” Hardik said.
“I’m simple to work with, someone who knows me, know what I am. I think he (Nehra) comes in those categories who has found the right side of me. I was completely off the grid because I took a sabbatical, and was away from the sport. I had decided not to be available for anything.
“I told him, ‘Ashu pa, it’s very important for me to know what you’re looking at’. We had a good chat. I was like, ‘Okay let me think about it’. Moments after disconnecting the call, he dropped me a message saying ‘if you’re ready, I would like you to take the captaincy’. That was a surprise for me. I didn’t expect that. I’ve never been a person who has ever run behind anything. If someone comes, it comes. When I got to know, I was in a different zone,” Hardik mentioned.
News Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/sports/ipl-2023/story/ipl-2023-hardik-reveals-getting-call-from-lsg-before-joining-gujarat-titans-2360321-2023-04-15