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IPL 2024

Did Dale Steyn take a veiled dig at Hardik Pandya with ‘smile and repeat nonsense’ comment?

Steyn takes a dig at Hardik
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Dale Steyn has made a comment seemingly targeted at Hardik Pandya after Mumbai Indians’ defeat to Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur yesterday (April 22).

Mumbai Indians succumbed to their fifth defeat of IPL 2024 in their eighth match of the season when Rajasthan Royals chased down a target of 180 with ease. Pandya had another tough outing on the field, scoring 10 off 10 with the bat and conceding 21 in his two overs without picking up a wicket.

After the game, he answered questions asked by the commentary panel with a typical smile on his face, something which he has already come under criticism for.

Earlier in the tournament, Kevin Pietersen said that Pandya is “smiling too much” and putting on an act for the cameras. “He’s smiling too much when he does the toss, he’s trying to act like he’s so happy. He’s not happy,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

Now, Steyn has spoken on similar lines, although not directly referring to Pandya. “I really look forward to the day players might say what’s honestly on their mind,” Steyn wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “Instead we somehow dumbed ourselves and our minds into saying the usual safe thing, lose the next game, smile and then repeat that nonsense again.”

Steyn’s comments (most probably) came off the back of cliched responses given by Pandya in the post-match interview. “Overall, we did not put the right foot on the park and eventually they outplayed us,” Pandya said after the match.

“After the game, it’s not the right time to go to the players, everyone is professional, they know their roles. What we can do is learn from this game and the mistakes which we have made, rectify it and make sure that we don’t make it. Progression is very important.

“Within the team, individually, we will have to accept our flaws and maybe work on those. I don’t believe much in chip and chop, I like to back players and the focus would always be to play good cricket, sticking to our plans and making sure that we don’t make the basic errors. Cricket is simple, as long as we keep it simple, it’s nice.”

Replying to a user’s comment on his post, Steyn reiterated the importance of captains and players being honest with their thoughts to the media. “The dressing room is meant for your kit. The field is meant for where you play. The press room is meant for honesty,” Steyn wrote.

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