IPL 2024: Indian cricket hits new low with unreal toxicity from Hardik Pandya through no fault of his own | Cricket

“Our country is not obsessed with the team, it is obsessed with the individual,” 2011 World Cup winner Gautam Gambhir has often said of Indian fans on public platforms, and this obsession led to a new low.

Hardik Pandya has been facing heat from fans across the country ever since he made his sensational return to Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans. (Photo credit: IPLt20.com)

Hardik Pandya, the Indian all-rounder with the experience of 189 international matches, has become the biggest villain of Indian cricket fans. The 30-year-old has faced an abundance of heat from fans across the country since his sensational return to Mumbai Indians Since Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League. Hardik joined MI after proving his captaincy skills at GT for a few seasons and hence, the MI management decided to bet on a new horse to lead them into the future.

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Rohit Sharma, who led MI to five titles, was replaced by Hardik as captain overnight to accommodate Hardik as the new man in charge – a move that in no way angered Indian and MI fans. But was it Hardik’s fault? No…the guy led his previous franchise to a title and a second place finish, so it’s common sense. And who in their right frame of mind would turn down a promotion like that of leading the most successful IPL team of all time? It was simple. MI made Pandya a deal he couldn’t refuse. Nobody would do it.

But it turns out fans haven’t accepted it yet. They sank to a new low, using trendy derogatory terms on of 90,000 people present in the same place. where he was acclaimed two years ago.

The fan toxicity has reached new heights and has added a whole new layer to the ‘Rohit vs Hardik’ saga, which as far as you know isn’t even true. Obsession with an individual forced them to spit venom on one of their own. This is the same guy who joined MI in 2015 and, after making great strides, not only made his debut for India but also became a household name in Indian cricket.

Some have also compared Hardik’s transfer to that of Luis Figo from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000. The Portuguese winger, who was Barca’s poster child, joined rivals Real in the summer of 2000 for a then-record fee of the world of 60 million euros. (£54 million). When Figo returned to play his first match at the Camp Nou in the Real Madrid jersey, he was not at all welcome. The fans shouted “Die Figo!” » As Figo was about to take another corner, a supporter threw a pig’s head onto the pitch.

But is it fair to compare the Figo transfer to the Hardik exchange? Figo joined a direct rival and the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid is not new in the sporting world. The two Spanish giants have been competing on and off the pitch for several decades.

As for Hardik, he was not retained by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2022 due to retention restrictions, and Gujarat Titans, who joined the league, took advantage of this. He was appointed skipper and created absolute magic in his first stint under the tutelage of Ashish Nehra. But not once during his two-year stay did Hardik hold any grudge against MI for not retaining him. He even attended their owner’s parties despite being the skipper of the Titans.

Facts rather than emotions

MI, who last won an IPL title in 2020, have decided to move on Rohit Sharma – the icon who led them to five IPL titles. But looking at Rohit’s personal form over the last couple of years, the writing was on the wall. The last time Rohit had a season averaging above 30 was in 2016, when he scored 489 runs in 14 matches. And in 2021, 2022 and 2023, Rohit has scored only three half-centuries. The swaggering opener deserves all the love and respect for what he has done for MI as captain, but it is not the worst decision to move on.

Mumbai Indians made a bold move by replacing Rohit Sharma with Hardik Pandya as the new captain. (PTI)

Hardik’s reaction is unreal…and unfair. He returned to a franchise where his career began. It made him who he is now. The rivalry between MI and GT has nothing to do with Barcelona-Real Madrid or Manchester United-Liverpool. The Titans are a two-year-old franchise and there have been players in the past who have made the switch from MI to CSK, the ‘El Classico’ of the IPL. But no one has faced the kind of rejection that Hardik is experiencing at a very crucial time in his career and for Indian cricket.

Right after the IPL, Hardik will represent the same fans with the Indian team in the T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies. There is no denying Hardik’s crucial role in ensuring that the Indian team achieves the right balance for the major tournaments. India has keenly felt the absence of this fast bowling all-rounder in many ICC events. As of now, Hardik is the best option available for India in this regard.

A few years ago, the versatile star faced a situation where the world turned against him because of some misogynistic comments on a chat show. He issued a public apology and was banned for his behavior. Despite people turning against him, Hardik thrived under pressure and became an integral part of the team again during the 2019 ODI World Cup. Hardik knows very well that “When your back is against the wall, break the damn stuff,” and the more pressure he’s under, the more likely he is to knock it out of the park with just as much ferocity.

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