'Hardik is dealing with mental health issues': Pandya 'hurt' after boos, trolls as 'reality' behind MI transfer revealed | Crickit

'Hardik is dealing with mental health issues': Pandya 'hurt' after boos, trolls as 'reality' behind MI transfer revealed

Apr 20, 2024 05:32 PM IST

Hardik Pandya didn't have the desired start to his stint as MI captain, as the side has three wins in seven matches and stands seventh in the table

The 2024 Indian Premier League is almost at its halfway mark. The season began with some major narratives, with arguably the biggest of them all being Hardik Pandya replacing Rohit Sharma as the new Mumbai Indians captain. The all-rounder returned to MI in November last year, and was made the skipper next month to significant controversy, as many fans opposed the sacking of five-time champion Rohit.

Hardik Pandya during a training session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians(PTI)
Hardik Pandya during a training session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket match between Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians(PTI)

Furthermore, it seemed the fans were still not behind Hardik when the season began, as the all-rounder was booed wherever he played – including MI's home stadium, Wankhede. It doesn't help Hardik that his own performances have suffered in the season so far; he has picked four wickets in seven matches, and scored 141 runs at a strike rate of 146.87.

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Former India batter, Robin Uthappa, has now spoke in great detail about the potential events that led to Hardik's return to Mumbai, and made a rather major claim on the all-rounder's mental state as he braves the fan opposition, as well as trolls and abuses on social media platforms. Uthappa, appearing on BeerBiceps YouTube channel, talked about Hardik's current situation at MI. 

“He has the calibre to be an all-time great for Indian team. He was let go by the team who discovered him, he went to another franchise. After winning 3-4 titles with them, he left. He must have felt a little bad; that will be there. He went to GT, won a title and finished runners-up in another. Then the conversation began,” Uthappa began.

“This guy knows... he's well aware of the mocking, trolling, the memes about his fitness. You don't think it hurts him? It hurts any human being. How many people know the reality of it? Hardik is dealing with mental health issues, for sure. We, as people, I understand are emotional. But it is not right to impose this kind of treatment on any human being. It is unbecoming as a society for us to do that to someone and be okay with it. We should not be laughing on it, should not be forwarding it.”

Uthappa further mentioned the example of how the Indian fans showered love on the national team after its heartbreaking defeat in the World Cup final, and urged the fans to show similar kindness to Hardik Pandya, too.

“It's our job, yes it's passion too, but it's what puts the food on the table for me. My job is on display for you to criticise. A corporate person's job is not on television to criticise, or have an opinion about either. When that is the case, you have to exercise a certain amount of empathy and dignity to the other person to allow them to fail. One of the most beautiful things we did as a country is our expression to love, and our reaction to our Indian team after we lost the World Cup. That's how we should be as a society, and as Indians,” said Uthappa.

'Athletes have short careers'

Talking about Hardik Pandya's transfer to Mumbai Indians, Uthappa defended the all-rounder stating he only wanted to maximise his career as a cricketer, insisting that athletes don't have long careers.

“We are willing to tear a person down to his foundation for the sake of a few memes, laughs, and money. These are the things that he's going through, he said okay, if I'm coming back to MI... is that wrong? Just from his perspective... is that wrong? He said, I want a good deal. Is that wrong? Athletes have very short careers. They want to maximise it. From his perception, he's right. He wants to win with Mumbai Indians, that's why he's come back,” said Uthappa.

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