Hardik Pandya© GettyImages

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Hardik Pandya

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Chandresh Narayanan

Why he matters: A rare breed in Indian cricket, he’s mastered both the bat and the ball. An all-rounder of the seam bowling variety, he’s now part of the leadership group, with a full-time ODI and T20 captaincy on the anvil. Sports commentator Chandresh Narayanan deciphers why this coming year will have ‘Showman Pandya’ as the man of the moment.

“A person who’s gifted in doing or presenting things theatrically or dramatically” is how one defines a showman, a term that fits a certain cricketer perfectly. Hardik Pandya is truly the showman who likes to be the cynosure of all things, be it on or off the field.

He bats aggressively, bowls with immense energy and is the most expressive player in an innings. In short, he makes for quite the attractive package!Pandya is the chosen one, all set to lead India in T20 and in One-Day Internationals. He’s now second-in-command to incumbent Rohit Sharma and a successful captain of Gujarat Titans, the 2022 champions of the Indian Premier League.

Hardik Pandya©GettyImages

Hailing from the humble town of Baroda, Pandya had a rough initiation into the sport, with a tryst with injuries and certain off-field controversies. While some surgeries ensured a stop-start international career, he has unfortunately missed more than he has played.

Pandya brings in big value in a critical year, where India hosts the showpiece ODI World Cup. So a fit Pandya is essential for an Indian side starved of any kind of major titles in white-ball cricket for a decade! Plus, his leadership will play a major role at the T20 World Cup next year, as well.

Indian cricket is poised for a transition, with all eyes on Pandya. But let us do him a favour and not burden him with being the next Kapil Dev! After all, he has his own moniker — the ultimate showman, ‘Kung Fu Pandya.’

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!