'Ball wasn't in my court, was in a vulnerable place'
"The ball was not in my court," said Hardik Pandya as he sought to explain his outrageous comments on women in a TV show that led to his suspension and an outpouring of condemnation last year.
Pandya, along with teammate K L Rahul, drew a lot of flak after their loose talk on women on 'Koffee with Karan' went viral, prompting the BCCI to suspend them and institute an inquiry into their conduct.
In his latest statement on the episode, Pandya said things were not particularly in his control during the interview.
"We as cricketers did not know what was going to happen. The ball was not in my court, it was in someone else's court where they had to take the shot and that's a very vulnerable place, you don't want to be (in it)," Pandya told India Today's show 'Inspiration'.
Pandya and Rahul were called back from an ongoing series against Australia at that time and their captain Virat Kohli too was openly critical of their comments on the show.
Both eventually came back after explaining themselves and apologising to the inquiry committee of the BCCI. While Rahul is currently playing in the T20 series against Sri Lanka, Pandya is recovering from a back injury.
Pandya downplayed comparisons with Mahendra Singh Dhoni who owned the No.7 slot before the former’s arrival into the team.
"I'll never be able to fill MS's shoes, so I don't even think that way. I'm quite excited for the challenge to be honest. Whatever I do, it will be always for the team you know. It will be one step at the ladder and slowly-slowly that Cup will be there," he said.
Pandya has not played since September last year but is expected to be back next month after being named in the India A squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.