ART OF FINISHINGDhoni's tips helps me in finishing innings: Hardik PandyaCricbuzz Staff • Last updated on Wed, 31 May, 2017, 08:27 AM Hardik Pandya produced some fine innings lower down the order in India's last ODI series – against England © BCCI
"We have ticked all the boxes going into the tournament," said Virat Kohli, the India captain, after their warm-up game against Bangladesh. One of those boxes was the lower-order batting which was promising, but still raw. "We back Kedar and Hardik to do it for us down the order," said Kohli soon after Hardik Pandya had blasted an unbeaten 80 off 54 balls from No. 6 that eased some of the captain's worries ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.
Along with Kedar Jadhav, he forms the one half of India's lower-order power-hitting requirements and has had to do much of his learning on the job. With scores of 40*, 19* and 56 against England in the three ODIs in January, he like Jadhav, got the nod to do the job in England as well. But to help him get here, he sought advice from one of India's best ODI finishers in MS Dhoni. And Pandya reckons that it has made him approach the job at hand better.
One of the biggest factors in tackling situations under pressure is to have a good mental make-up. In getting there, Pandya cites a tip from Dhoni during the series against England where he racked up the aforementioned scores.
"I still remember one incident when I asked him how to finish the games. And he said that you need to make sure you look at the scoreboard. You need to make sure you see the situations and play accordingly. That way I have noticed that you don't put pressure on yourself. Because you want the team to win, that's the motive. So you don't have your own personal thing that you have to do something special, that pressure is not on you. You just have to focus on what you can do for the team and play according to the situation. So that was a big tip which he gave me and which eventually helped me."
In the game against Bangladesh, Pandya's challenges were to tackle the different conditions in England. In his own words, it was and will be a challenge. "When the clouds are there, the ball is swinging and batsmen are in trouble. When it's bright and shiny, it's a flat track. It's the first time I have seen something like this," he said.
"I thought when I went out to bat, it was cloudy and that I had to take some time. We all know that once you spend time on the England wickets, you can score in the end. That was the plan and I had a chat with Mahi bhai as well. He said the same thing. If you can take some time at the start, later on the runs were there to come."
Pandya is also looking at adapting his bowling to the conditions in England. "Obviously it's very different to what you do from India, the situations and the conditions. I thought I should have bowled slightly fuller in the first game. It was just that it was the Indian length which we are used to. The quicker you adapt, it is useful for the team."
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