Even before the first ball of the IPL 2022 season was bowled, Hardik Pandya elevated the pitch. With a Gujarat Titans advertisement, he pledged to lead his admirers to the pinnacle of athletic triumph in his baritone voice.

“Turbulence is a possibility on this flight, as it is on every trip.” But I’ve been through a national storm, a ban, a torturous back ailment, and more, so I know what it takes,” he remarked.

The statements were well-rehearsed, and to many, they were just plain ad-speak with no connection to reality, yet they appeared to hit home when we saw photographs of Pandya carrying the IPL trophy as first-time captain of Titans in perhaps the hardest T20 competition in the world. Pandya remarked on the difference between ‘earning a title’ and ‘having a label’ in the commercial, which has received over 3 lakh views. ‘Getting a trend and being trolled,’ as the saying goes.

Pandya pondered on various low points as if to imply that he was acknowledging the past in the hopes of shaping a better future. Hardik Pandya’s success in IPL 15 was built on his rediscovery of his bowling rhythm, his methodical batting, which saw him score 487 sensible runs at No 4, and even his calm leadership style. The Brand Hardik Pandya comeback tale has just begun off the field.

“With his recent success and a long career ahead of him, we predict double-digit interest in the next 12 months, and these agreements will last for years,” said Nikhil Bardia, Head of Sponsorship Sales & Talent at rising Worldwide, which represents Pandya.

Pandya’s leadership achievement is the newest feather in his crown. While Pandya’s instinctual reading of the game while wearing the captain’s armband was instinctive, he claims he made a deliberate effort to remain calm in critical match scenarios.