Pandya wants to tailgate 'magical year' with World Cup win

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India will be hosting the ODI World Cup in October-November and Pandya has been named vice-captain of the ODI side
India will be hosting the ODI World Cup in October-November and Pandya has been named vice-captain of the ODI side © AFP

Hardik Pandya, the newly-appointed Twenty20 captain of India, is looking forward to year 2023 with high hopes and expectations. At 29, he reckons he is yet to achieve many milestones and a World Cup win later this year sits right on top of the pile.

"The biggest goal is to win the World Cup. I don't think there can be a bigger (New Year) resolution than that. We will try everything possible in our capacity," the India all-rounder remarked on the eve of India's first of three T20I games against Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

Pandya added, "One year back, things were quite different. When I went out of the squad, it was quite difficult. It has been a magical year for me, obviously I would have liked to win the World Cup (in Australia), but it is part and parcel of the game. Going forward, there is a lot to achieve, I have not achieved anything and I am looking forward to the future -- multiple World Cups in multiple years."

India will be hosting the ODI World Cup in October-November. Pandya has been named vice-captain of the ODI side whereas Rohit Sharma is the skipper.

"I have been thrown here and there and the only thing that has got me back is my hard work. So, how I am going to manage is through my hard work," Pandya, one of the premier all-rounders of the world, said on how he will handle the workload. "Keep working hard and make sure I look after my body which I do. Going forward, the only thing I am going to focus on is to make sure I give my body ample chance to be out there and be at my best.

"I know the language of hard work. I don't think I know any other language in my life."

Pandya's captaincy mantra is to back the players to the hilt. As captain, he has already been quite successful, particularly with his IPL side Gujarat Titans which won the title in its very first year. He threw light on how he will handle leadership roles in the India side.

"What we have said (to the players) is that we're going to back you to the core. All the players have that support from my side that I'm going to back them to the core. For me, it's important how I can make them feel that they're the best of their business. And if I can get that thing done, I don't think that they will have any problem in international cricket. They will flourish and have amazing careers ahead," Pandya said.

About the long term plans of his captaincy, Pandya said he has some ideas which he will try to implement. One of the key points is to give each player ample opportunities. "The plans are set, we are looking to play in a certain way. We will keep creating new plans and see which are the plans which are working for us and going forward just make sure everyone gets ample opportunities and just that at the right time when needed just see what we need to do."

About the series starting on Tuesday, Hardik said he will make sure the Sri Lankans are intimidated by the team's body language. "Yes, we will make them feel like we're in India, don't worry about that, I promise you they will feel that they're playing an international team and that too India in India. So from my boys and my side, we're going to be clear. We don't need to go and sledge them, our body language is enough for them to feel a little intimidated, which we will do, I promise you."

Hardik also spoke about Rishabh Pant who is currently recovering from a road accident in Dehradun. "What happened is very unfortunate, no one has control over it. As a team we wish him all the best, our love and prayers are always with him. Wish him a speedy recovery," Pandya said.

"He was a very important part of the team, now everyone knows where the situation is and a lot of other people can get opportunities. If he was there, he would have made a big difference because of the player he is, but now he is not there, so we can't control it. We will see what the future holds for us."