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India vs Australia: In a sweet gesture, Hardik Pandya hands over Player of the Series award to Natarajan

India vs Australia: In a sweet gesture, Hardik Pandya hands over Player of the Series award to Natarajan
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India vs Australia: In a sweet gesture, Hardik Pandya hands over Player of the Series award to Natarajan 

Highlights

In January 2019, Hardik Pandya – who was considered until then one of the most promising all-rounders in Indian cricket – found himself in the centre of a big controversy after he made disgraceful comments about women on a popular TV chat show.

In January 2019, Hardik Pandya – who was considered until then one of the most promising all-rounders in Indian cricket – found himself in the centre of a big controversy after he made disgraceful comments about women on a popular TV chat show.

Both Pandya and KL Rahul, who is currently the vice-captain of India's limited-overs in the absence of Rohit Sharma, were suspended and asked to return from Australia, where the duo was to feature in the One-Day International (ODI) series.

A year later, India are once again Down Under and the tour has turned out to a road to redemption for Hardik. While the all-rounder has not been fully fit to bowl, he did fantastic with the bat in the last few limited-overs matches. After Australia sealed the three-match ODI series 2-1, Hardik's unbeaten 92 helped India avoid a whitewash in the 50-over format. In the T20Is, he scored 78 runs in three innings, including an unbeaten 42 in the second game in Sydney that helped India win the game and claim the T20I series.

The 27-year-old finished the limited-overs series with an aggregate of 288 runs in six matches and was handed the Player of the Series award on Tuesday after Australia defeated India by 12 runs in the dead rubber third T20I, which also helped the hosts to avoid a clean sweep.

Indian pacer T. Natarajan, who made his international debut in the ongoing tour, finished the three-match T20I series as the highest wicket-taker – 6 scalps ahead of Australia's Mitchell Swepson (5 wickets), and India's leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (4 wickets). On his ODI debut, which happened in the third match between India and Australia in Canberra, Natarajan had picked two wickets.

On being asked about the Player of the Series award at the post-match presentation at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Hardik said he was very pleased, but it was a team effort. "I'm very pleased, and wouldn't mind getting the Man of the Series award, but it was a team effort. After the 2nd ODI, we thought we'd think of this as a 4-match series and we managed to get three wins, so happy with that. I don't mind giving interviews because you only have those when you're on the winning side. I haven't seen my child for four months, so I'd like to spend some time with family right now," added Hardik in the interview.

After the ceremony, in what turned out to be a great gesture, Hardik handed over his Player of the Series award to Natarajan on Tuesday.



"Natarajan, you were outstanding in this series. To perform brilliantly in difficult conditions on your India debut speaks volumes of your talent and hard work Clapping hands sign You deserve Man of the Series from my side Bhai! Congratulations to #TeamIndia on the win," tweeted Hardik.

With the limited-overs series done and dusted, the focus will now shift to the longest format. The first Test of the four-match series is set to begin on Dec. 17 at the Adelaide Oval. It will be a day-night Test, India's first away pink ball Test.

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