Team India’s young sensation Hardik Pandya is certainly going through the best phase of his career. The all-rounder hasn’t got a foot wrong since featuring for the Mumbai Indians in the 10th edition of the IPL. After helping the Mumbai based franchise to its third IPL triumph, Hardik broke into the international scene with a bang.
His performance with the bat in the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan was applauded by the cricket pundits all over the world. After appearing for India in the limited over formats, the Baroda lad got his first Test cap in the first Test of the three match series against Sri Lanka. The incredible rise of Hardik might hint a bright future for the Indian team, but his journey to the top was not so easy.
Speaking to Vikram Sathaye in ‘What the Duck’ show, Hardik spoke about his days of struggle mentioning that his diet revolved around Maggi when he used to play during U-19 days. He mentioned that his family was not in a great financial position so as to provide him with a rich and healthy diet.
“During U-19 days, my diet would be Maggi, both in the morning and evening. I was a big fan of Maggi and the situation was also like that. It was difficult to maintain a diet, financially it was a problem. Now I can eat whatever I want, but that time there were many problems in the family, especially financial issues,” Hardik was quoted as saying.
Hardik added that he and his brother Krunal had to borrow their cricket kits from Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) during early days. However, they bought a car which left them with absolutely zero savings. He also said that people raised fingers on them on this matter.
“A lot of people are not aware of this. We had bought a car but there were no savings. Wherever Krunal and I would go to play matches, we would go in the car. We had to take cricket kit from Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) for one year. I was 17 and Krunal was, I guess, around 19. A lot of people questioned, ‘they are coming in a car but cannot afford a cricket kit?’,” he said.
He further revealed that his father’s health was a major concern in the family. His father got more than one heart attacks but the family was fortunate to take him to the hospital on time. All their family income was used up to pay the EMIs.
“We were pretty much sure we will never accept sympathy from anyone, no matter what.” added Hardik.
“My father was the only earning person at home. He suffered a heart attack — not one but two and that too within one night. He almost got another attack six months later, but we were glad we reached the hospital in time. The financial problems started at that time … we had no savings and perhaps we spent more than what we earned”.
“We used to get Rs 40,000 per year (read month) but they would cut Rs 4,000 TDS. Whatever we would earn would go in EMIs. We had a monthly EMI of Rs 10,000 for the car alone.” said Hardik.
Hardik also mentioned that his struggles continued till he made his IPL debut. According to him, they had to be calculative in buying anything including the litres of petrol. He also claimed that he earned Rs.400 per match while Krunal earned 100 more than him.
“We used to go to different villages to play. Krunal used to get more money — he would get Rs 500 for a match and I made Rs 400. But we would always travel in the car… nothing is bigger in life than self-respect (laughs). We would go to a petrol pump and buy two litres of petrol in bottles. We would stop a little ahead of the petrol pump. The second bottle would serve as back-up so that we can at least get back home. We cannot empty both the bottles in one go, as we would never know how long it would last. This is my story till six months before I played IPL,” he shared.