T20 World Cup 2024: Hardik Pandya Smartly Tackles Question On ‘Crowd Support’ Against Ireland

    It was just around a month ago when Hardik Pandya was going through such a tough time in life, both on and off the field, after he was traded to his old franchise Mumbai Indians (MI), from the Gujrat Titans (GT), and the management decided to make him the new leader of the side replacing Rohit Sharma.

    The Mumbai crowd, at the Wankhede Stadium, the fans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad or a few other places gave him a round of boos during the league, whenever he was inside the field.

    As Hardik Pandya’s form went downhill and Mumbai finished with the wooden spoon in the 17th season of the competition, the backlash only got stronger and louder. The question was always how badly it would affect the all-rounder in the Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

    ‘We rule the word so it’s good to have so much support’ – Hardik Pandya

    After Hardik Pandya reached New York, where India was going to play their first three group games of the tournament, the speculation was on Hardik’s form and how would redeem himself from the struggle.

    Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: ‘Hardik Pandya Is A Strong Guy’ – Ian Bishop

    In India’s only warm-up fixture against Bangladesh at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, in New York, the Gujrat-born showed his impressive skills of coming lower down the order and notching up a firing innings, while with the ball, he gave India a vital spell of three overs.

    Once the India vice-captain started to showcase his performances, the whole balance of the side changed and the inaugural champions of the side looked quite fearless in their approach.

    In the practice game, Pandya remained unbeaten on 40 runs in 23 balls, with four over-boundaries, three of which came in successive three balls against left-arm spin. Even when he was introduced into the attack, Hardik bowled in good line and lengths, before showing his class with the ball to finish with a three-wicket haul.

    During India’s opening game of the league fixture against Ireland, on a pitch which was already helping the fast bowlers, with a slow and sluggish looking outfield, it was important for the changing bowlers to keep on taking wickets.

    Hardik Pandya went through the defense of Lorcan Tucker, before sending back both Mark Adair and Curtis Campher to end with figures of 3/27 in his four overs, including a maiden. This takes the all-rounder to 76 T20I wickets in 93 games, as he is now the joint third highest-wicket taker for India in T20 World Cups.

    India chased down the low score of 97 quite comprehensively with almost eight overs to spare, and eight wickets in hand. Another biggest positive for the team in New York has been the immense crowd support for the team.

    The broadcast, during the innings break asked him, ‘It feels like Mumbai here in New York. Is it fun?’

    Also Read: T20 World Cup 2024: USA Captain Monank Patel Focuses On His Team’s Fearless Approach Against Pakistan

    It’s really fun. It’s always fantastic to see the crowd always coming and supporting us. We Indians are everywhere. We rule the world so it’s good to have so much support. So, thanks to them,” Hardik Pandya quite smartly tackled the question by saying,

    It was quite refreshing to see Hardik bowling in his old way, and that’s the reason why India could go with both their spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, and add their three prolonged pacers Mohammad Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh.

    ‘Always special to play for the country, always good to play for pride. I have been able to contribute in the World Cups; God has been kind. That was an outstanding effort by Axar; those are the catches when you let your hand-eye coordination in.

    I really liked the first wicket, don’t hit the stumps often as I usually bowl short of a length. I needed to be fuller than back of a length today. On this kind of surface, you need to be disciplined and hit the right areas,” Gujrat-born 30-year-old all-rounder Hardik Pandya expressed during the interview.

    India will now face Pakistan at the same ground on June 09.

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