Suspended by Baroda, Deepak Hooda proves his worth in IPL

Deepak Hooda may have been suspended by the Baroda Cricket Association for the Indian domestic cricket season 2020-21, but there is no stopping the big-hitting talent as he took the IPL platform on Monday to show what his state team missed.

The 25-year-old was suspended for the season by Baroda cricket body after he had a spat with state team captain Krunal Pandya in January which meant he couldn’t play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20s as well as the Vijay Hazare one-dayers.

However, it did not have any bearing on his form or confidence with the bat and on Monday night showed what Baroda had missed during the season by suspending him.

The right-handed Hooda, who had smashed a 30-ball unbeaten 62 against Chennai Super Kings in the last competitive game he played before this IPL, back on November 1, 2020, scored a 28-ball 64 (6x6s and 4x4s) on Monday to help Punjab Kings score 221/6 in 20 overs against Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

“I was just reacting to the ball and showing aggressive intent in my batting. I got this role at No. 4 and I am happy to get this role, as I bat at this position in domestic cricket,” said Hooda who was pushed up the order and sent ahead of Nicholas Pooran.

Former Baroda teammate and India fast bowler Irfan Pathan commended his mental strength and tweeted, “If you want to learn to never back down then read the story of Deepak Hooda’s past few months and watch him bat tonight. Well played buddy! #Fighter #mentallystrong.”