Though it wasn’t the most fruitful of debuts for Hardik Pandya, who donned the India jersey for the first time in 2016 against Australia, he did learn a valuable lesson while playing under the iconic wicket-keeper batsman.
It was the first T20I against Australia at Adelaide on January 26, 2016 when Hardik was given his first international cap. Dhoni, who is known to give the bowlers their freedom when it comes to deciding what field to set and what sort of deliveries to bowl, was also left gobsmacked seeing Hardik go for 19 runs in his first over, with the first three deliveries in international cricket being wides.
Recalling the moment in a conversation with cricket expert Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz, Hardik revealed how he thought his career was over on the day he made his India debut itself.
“I genuinely thought my career was over. I had never taken such a beating even in domestic cricket,” Hardik recalled as he conceded 26 runs in first 8 balls of his international career. He later came back to claim two wickets and finish with the figures of 2/37 as India beat Australia by 37 runs.
Admitting how was felt numb on being called up by Dhoni, Hardik added: “Mahi bhai called me. First 2-3 seconds I didn’t move.”
Bhogle then highlighted how Ravichandran Ashwin was backed by Dhoni when he went for runs in a game. “Even when R Ashwin went for runs, he (Dhoni) didn’t tell him much but backed to continue trying,” said the cricket commentator and expert.