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HomeCricket OpinionsIs Hardik Pandya Being Hated for No Reason?

Is Hardik Pandya Being Hated for No Reason?

As of March 2024, Hardik Pandya might be the most hated cricketer in the world, and truth be told, right off the bat, there’s very little fault of his in this painful ordeal.

Let’s see what has transpired since the last IPL mega auction. Hardik didn’t get retained by Mumbai Indians, so he went to Gujarat Titans for the IPL 2022 and helped them win the IPL, all while getting to captain the Indian T20I side for 16 games. He left Gujarat Titans in 2024, came back to Mumbai Indians, and was made the captain of the team in a rather unceremonious manner with the sacking of Rohit Sharma.

It is fair to say that this might have gone well with senior players at the Mumbai setup, like Surya Kumar Yadav or Jasprit Bumrah, as they had worked hard to become part of that leadership group. Meanwhile, Rohit, who turned the franchise’s fortunes around with his captaincy, was sacked with not even a lousy “how do you do?”.

There seems to have been a lot of behind-the-scenes tumult in the Mumbai camp, some of which also spilled over to the social media. But amidst Mumbai’s ordinary campaigns of 2022 and a diabolical start to the 2024 IPL, Is Hardik Pandya really being hated for all the wrong reasons?

Let’s look at it; for a start, the Titans fans were not happy with Hardik somewhat deserting their team and received an ocean of boos during the MI v GT game at Narendra Modi Stadium. All the same, continued at Uppal Stadium Hyderabad as well. Hardik’s captaincy is very experimental, to say the least, and that often worked pretty well for GT in 2022 and 2023.

So, purely from a result point of view, Hardik is justified for experimenting, knowing that it has worked in the past for a team, even if this is a different one.

Now, the lines between criticism and abuse have been crossed by many “fans”. A lot of racist and casteist abuse was hurled at Hardik on the field and online, which, for me, isn’t worth talking about because it’s hideous and should be punished, no questions asked.

But from an on-field captaincy point of view, Hardik has only captained Mumbai for just games, and even if the games were there to win on both occasions, Hardik particularly botched it with the bat.

But that is not necessarily worse than 2022, where MI lost game after game despite being at their full strength. While the results have not gone their way, for one, the Mumbai Indians are missing their best bat in SKY, and it is also fair to say that Hardik Pandya failed to hit his stride with bat, ball, and leadership.

So Mumbai should take solace in the fact that if there’s enough course correction in the upcoming games, those 1%ers that didn’t go their way against GT might finally do, and they may win a few games again.


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