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It was definitely a dream debut: Hardik Pandya

October 17, 2016 14:25 IST

IMAGE: India’s legendary allrounder Kapil Dev gives the ODI cap to Hardik Pandya on Sunday. Photograph: BCCI.

Hardik Pandya had a dream debut picking three crucial wickets in the first ODI against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Sunday.

The 23-year old allrounder, who received the India cap from legendary allrounder Kapil Dev ahead of the game, also bagged the Man-of-the-Match award for his bowling effort.

Opening the bowling for the first time in his international career, Pandya struck in his first over dismissing the dangerous Martin Guptill.

"The ball was doing a lot; it was swinging. I knew if I put it in the right spots, something would happen. Two balls went for fours, but I had backed myself that something will happen. The captain was always supporting me.

"He didn't tell me anything that could have made me nervous. I wanted him (Guptill) to drive and eventually got him caught in the slips," Pandya said after the match.

With a wicket in his first over, Pandya went on to claim two more. He had Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi dismissed for single-digit scores.

"It was definitely a dream debut. I feel quite lucky to represent India in ODIs. This was the best thing I could have got. Somehow, in the nets, I felt I was going to make my debut, but still had some nervousness whether I will get to play or not," he said.

On receiving the cap from Kapil, Pandya said, "I will cherish this for a long time. Someone like Kapil Dev gave me my ODI cap.

"The feeling is quite amazing. He made his Test debut on the same day, so I am very happy."

IMAGE: India’s Hardik Pandya celebrates with Virat Kohli. Photograph: BCCI.

Pandya's form had dwindled after India's semifinal exit from the World T20 and the talented allrounder was also excluded from the playing squad of his Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.

Making a superb comeback, Pandya regularly clocked the 140kmp mark on the speed gun in Dharamsala.

"Honestly, I was not looking to bowl 140s, but was looking to pitch in the right areas. It is pretty good that I am bowling quick. I am now getting used to bowling in the 140s.”

India's skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni too added that it was the addition in pace that made the team management open the bowling with him.

"Our thinking was to use him as one of the three seamers. He is quite deceptive. He can bowl quick and he has got movement. He can swing even on wickets where other bowlers don't get that kind of swing," Dhoni said.

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