Hardik Pandya, India's 2024 T20 World Cup hero, deserves apology from Indian fans | Crickit
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Hardik Pandya, India's 2024 T20 World Cup hero, deserves apology from Indian fans

Jun 30, 2024 09:46 AM IST

Hardik Pandya was key as India defeated South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2024 final.

Indian fans, it’s time to say sorry to Hardik Pandya. You have been extremely harsh to him in the last few months.

India's Hardik Pandya holds the National flag.(BCCI-X)
India's Hardik Pandya holds the National flag.(BCCI-X)

Today you are celebrating India’s T20 World Cup final win because of him. Everyone knows, how passionate you are and how you idolize the achievers, but you are also quick to lambaste, humiliate your idols when they don’t live up to expectations. Rohit Sharma should say sorry too for not believing in him enough during the final.

Also Read | Rohit Sharma ends India’s ICC title drought, sums up legacy with ‘desperately wanted to win’ claim after IND vs SA final

What Pandya did last night in Bridgetown… it’s a once-in-a-lifetime performance. David Miller and Heinrich Klassen had torn apart Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel in the 14th and 15th overs respectively. Jasprit Bumrah then bowled a fabulous 16th over conceding just four runs. When Rohit brought Pandya back for the 17th over... he didn't appear to do it with all his heart.

If truth be told, he had no other choice. Pandya should have bowled the over Axar bowled in which he conceded 24 runs. It was not exactly Indian spinners' day so there was no justification for not giving Pandya the ball earlier.

Anyway, with South Africa needing 26 runs off 24 balls and Klassen and Miller looking unstoppable, the T20 World Cup trophy appeared gone for India. Any other player after receiving that kind of treatment from his captain would have given up totally demoralised! Not Pandya. When he held the ball, one could see the fire in his eyes. He had a point to prove.

First ball of the over… and straight away he induced a nick from Klassen and Rishabh Pant did the rest behind the wicket. In all, just four runs in the over. India had a glimmer of hope now. Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh then did what they had to do, leaving the last over for Pandya in which he had to defend 15.

The dangerous Miller was still out there. It was anybody’s game. In such a high-pressure scenario, Pandya kept his nerves and dispatched the left-hander off the first ball.

He had effectively won the match for India right there. A few deliveries later, India had sealed their first T20 World Cup trophy since 2007 and their first ICC trophy since 2013. The chokers' tag had been done away with. All thanks to Pandya.

And we were so rude to this man not so long ago. All through the 2024 Indian Premier League, he was called names for no fault of his. Mumbai Indians made him captain of the franchise replacing Rohit whose fans couldn’t take the insult and unleashed their fury wrongfully on Pandya. His looks were made fun of. His style was made fun of.

Frankly, much before the IPL, things had started going awry for Pandya. He was supposed to captain India in the 2024 T20 World Cup but then out of nowhere Rohit was brought back to lead the team. His marital life was all over the place too… some shocking details emerged after the IPL. Unaware what he was going through, fans left no opportunity to run him down.

The same Hardik Pandya delivered at a time when hopes were dwindling. The same Pandya shed a bucketful of tears after guiding India to the prestigious trophy. The same Pandya proudly posed with the tricolour post-game.

Mind you, this wasn’t the only game he influenced in the tournament. He played quite a few important cameos down the order, including a very important one against England in the semifinals. In all, he scored 144 runs in the tournament at an average of 48 and strike rate of 151.57. With the ball, he took 11 wickets, including 2/24 against arch-rivals Pakistan.

Indian fans, now’s the time to correct the mistake. It’s never too late to say sorry. There is also a lesson to learn that whenever a player is not delivering as per expectations, sure criticize them. That’s your right but getting personal is not on. Without Pandya, your wait for an ICC trophy would continue. He is a rare talent and we should be grateful for what he has done for the nation! All hail Hardik Pandya!

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