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IPL 2024

‘Boos are affecting him’ – Hardik Pandya criticised for ‘ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy’

Hardik Pandya faced heavy criticism after Mumbai Indians' loss against Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2024 on April 14.
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Kevin Pietersen and Sunil Gavaskar have slammed Hardik Pandya’s captaincy and bowling as Mumbai Indians stumbled to a 20-run defeat against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede on April 15.

Mumbai suffered their fourth loss in six games in IPL 2024 after they failed to chase down 207, ending their innings on 186-6. Pandya’s performance as a captain and a bowler came under scrutiny once again.  He had a night to forget against Chennai: he first leaked 26 runs in the last over, including three consecutive sixes against MS Dhoni and then got out for a six-ball two during Mumbai’s chase.

In an interaction with Star Sports during the mid-innings break, Sunil Gavaskar didn’t mince his words while assessing Pandya’s bowling and captaincy:

He was quoted as saying by NDTV: “Probably the worst kind of bowling that I’ve seen for a long, long time. It almost looks like I’ve had this embrace with my hero. I’ve got the kind of deliveries that he’s gonna hit for sixes.

“One six is fine,” Gavaskar said in a clip shared by Star Sports. “The next one is a length ball when you know this batter is hunting for a length ball that he wants to hit. Third ball is again a full toss on the legs when you know he [Dhoni] is looking for a six

“Oh, absolutely ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy. They should have been restricted despite the fact that Ruturaj Gaikwad had batted so well along with Shivam Dube. I do believe that they should have been restricted to about 185-190,” Gavaskar added.

Pietersen echoed Gavaskar’s words and criticised Pandya for not introducing spinners into the attack when the fast bowlers were going for runs. Until the eighth over, Mohammad Nabi bowled only three overs while Shreyas Gopal rolled his arms over for one. From there on, Hardik relied only on the pacers.

“What I saw this evening wasn’t good enough. I saw a captain that had plan A from a team meeting that was five hours ago and a captain that did not want to go to plan B when he should have gone for plan B. How on this earth have you not bowled a spinner when your seamers are going for 20?” Pietersen questioned. “Brian Lara said on commentary, ‘Can we please bowl a spinner?’ There are spinners who can bowl, somebody needs to bowl here. You need to change the pace of the game.”

Ever since Pandya replaced Rohit Sharma as Mumbai’s skipper, he has been greeted with boos and hostility during matches at the Wankhede and Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.  Pietersen reckoned that the “boos are affecting him”.

“I think with Hardik Pandya, everything away from the game has affected him so much. He is smiling too much at the toss. He is trying to act like he’s so happy. He’s not happy. I have been there. I have been in the firing line, and I have been in the firing line proper. And I can tell you now: it affects you”.

“If what’s happening to Hardik Pandya, the boos that we’ve just been hearing now and how happy they are to see the CSK former captain, the lion (MS Dhoni) smacking him all over the park, it hurts you because he has emotion and he’s an Indian player…

“And he doesn’t want to be treated like this. So when this is happening, it’s affecting him. It’s affecting his cricket and something needs to happen,” Pietersen added.

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