T20 World Cup 2024 – ‘We fulfilled what the whole nation wanted’ – Hardik, Axar, Siraj react after winning

Hardik Pandya, India vice captain: “It means a lot. It’s very emotional. We’ve been working very hard but something was not clicking. But today was a day where we kind of fulfilled what the whole nation wanted. So many people supporting.

“And I think it is even more special for me, how my six months have been… I have been very graceful of not speaking a word. Things have been very unfair, but I believe that if I keep working hard then I’ll be able to shine and do what I have always done. That sums everything up. It was a dream to win. Especially, to get an opportunity like this makes it even more special.

“We always believed we could do it. It was about us executing our plans, staying calm and letting the pressure come to them. Credit to Jassi [Jasprit Bumrah] and the bowlers who bowled the last 4-5 overs. It changed everything. I thought it was about time we did it [laughs]. I knew if I didn’t stay calm, it wouldn’t help me. For me, it was about executing my plans, and every ball I bowl I come in at 100%. I have been in this situation, I’ve not won it, but I’ve always enjoyed pressure situations. It’s been wonderful.

“I am very happy for him [Rahul Dravid], he is a wonderful man, I have enjoyed working with him. To give him a farewell like this, for this to be the way that his coaching career ends, that’s wonderful. All the support staff have been very integral last three-four years.”

Axar Patel: “When I came to the World Cup [squad] in the last few years, I have been getting injured. This time I felt that I had to do something good for India. Finally, I did it, feeling so proud. I tried to keep it simple, not thinking about anything. Thought of it as just another match. Did not think this to be a final. That worked for it. When I went for batting, I did not think about what will happen if I get out. I just played on the merit of the ball.

“Rohit Sharma is an amazing man, he led India well in this World Cup. Rahul bhai gave everything towards it, and said you can enjoy and don’t take pressure, just enjoy and do your best. [up the order] Not today, I was to go down the order, but when we lost three wickets early, suddenly Rahul bhai asked me to pad up. I didn’t get to think anything about my batting and that worked for me.”

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Mohammed Siraj: “I only believed in Jassi bhai because he is the only one game-changer bowler. His over was the match-changing over and what I was thinking…. that’s what happened. It is an unbelievable feeling to be honest, I can’t describe my feeling. Last year’s World Cup, we lost, but now this match, I think is… as a player…. this feeling is unbelievable. Every professional cricketer wants a World Cup final. I am grateful, blessed, to be honest, I am lucky.”

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