‘If you perform, people who were abusing you…’: When boos as MI captain turned to cheers for Hardik Pandya in T20WC

Hardik Pandya has made a massive turnaround and managed to convert his haters into fans once again with his impressive performance in the T20 World Cup. A few weeks back, Hardik was one of the most hated cricketers in India and was getting booed across the venues during IPL 2024. The cricket fans were not impressed with the Mumbai Indians’ decision to appoint Hardik Pandya as captain after Rohit Sharma was sacked from the post. However, things have changed with Hardik back in India’s blues where he is deputy to Rohit.

Hardik Pandya of India reacts during the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 match between India and Pakistan.(Getty Images via AFP)

Hardik had a tough time in IPL 2024, and nothing went in his favour. MI finished at the bottom of the table, while he struggled with the form himself. However, the flamboyant all-rounder has been in terrific form with the ball in the T20 World Cup, claiming five wickets in two matches. The Indian vice-captain played a pivotal role in India’s crucial win over arch-rivals Pakistan by claiming crucial wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan in his economical four-over spell of 2/24.

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Former India opener Aakash Chopra, who was present in the stadium witnessing Pandya’s efforts on the field against Pakistan, said that the entire ground was behind the Indian all-rounder proving cricket a great leveler.

“Hardik Pandya – people booed him so much, and how life changes. I saw the entire ground shouting ‘Hardik, Hardik’ and a lot of love for him. Cricket is a great leveler. If you perform well, people who were abusing you will also praise you. They will pray for your success,” Aakash said on his YouTube channel.

Chopra pointed out the love the Indians have for cricket and how they pray for the team and players’ success which is a blessing.

“I learned one thing that we Indians are extremely lucky. We have 140 crore people and whoever follows cricket, prays for you, even though they don’t know you. This is the biggest blessing. So Hardik Pandya has also turned that around. He has been outstanding,” Aakash added.

Meanwhile, India have started the T20 World Cup on a positive note with two wins in as many matches and emerged as the favourites to qualify for Super 8 from Group A. They will next face USA, who have also registered two wins in a row, on Wednesday in New York.

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