Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has established himself in the Indian playing XI and has become an integral part of the team. Pandya, who came into limelight while playing for the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians (MI), rose through the ranks in the domestic circuit and soon found himself donning the coveted blue jersey. However, in a conversation with Gaurav Kapur, host of 'Breakfast with Champions', Pandya disclosed how he earned his name in the cricket fraternity and how life changed for him, especially financially, after he debuted for MI in 2015.
"When Krunal was 19 and I was 17, we told our father that we don't want anyone's sympathy. We don't want you to ask people to pick my boys for the team as we won't like it. Hum khud khelenge to khelenge, nahi to nahi khelenge (If we play, we will play with our own capabilities otherwise we won't). We never wanted that two-three years down the line someone tells that we've made the boys as we gave them a chance. Yes, there are people who have helped, like my coach and I'm grateful, but it was us, who proved our mettle on the ground," Hardik recalled.
Hardik further spoke on how his family struggled before they gained recognition and how his brother's and his hardwork earned them a good living.
"No one knew that we had struggled for three years when we did't have a single penny. Saving five to ten rupees was a big trouble for us. I still remember during IPL, before that we won the national T20 in South Africa, Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament and Krunal and I got around Rs 70 thousand each. I had told my brother that we would survive on this money for some time because we were struggling for three years."
"We hadn't paid the EMI of our car for two years and used to hide the car as we did not want the car to be taken away. Everything we earned in those three years was about paying the EMI and having food at the table and nothing else," Hardik emphasised.
But life took a u-turn for Hardik, when he featured for MI in the IPL in 2015 as they lifted the title for the second time.
"God is kind. My first year with MI, we won the IPL and then I got a cheque of Rs 50 lakhs. From there, I paid off the EMI of our old car and bought a new car as well. Imagine, three months back we were struggling and fighting for money and within three months I have Rs 50-60 lakhs in my pocket. It was all about saving at that time. From there, things changed and what not has come for us," Hardik said.
The Baroda all-rounder has played 37 matches for MI, scored 406 runs and recorded an impressive strike-rate of 142.45 and also has 10 wickets to his name. Apart from this, the right-handed batsman has played three Tests, 29 ODIs and 24 T20s for India and scored 178, 584 and 140 runs respectively.