Hardik Pandya faced awkward 'feels like Mumbai here' question fresh out of IPL booing episode but handles it like a pro | Crickit
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Hardik Pandya faced awkward 'feels like Mumbai here' question fresh out of IPL booing episode but handles it like a pro

Jun 06, 2024 02:57 PM IST

Hardik Pandya's mind may have harked back to the IPL being asked the question 'feels like Mumbai in New York. Is it fun?'

It wasn't too long ago that Hardik Pandya found himself in the middle of a storm captaining the Mumbai Indians. Wherever he went, including MI's home ground of the Wankhede Stadium, Hardik received a clattering of boos. The Mumbai crowd just wasn't ready to see someone replace Rohit Sharma as the captain of MI, and with results not going Mumbai Indians' way, the public backlash only grew louder and stronger as MI crashed out from the race to the Playoffs.

Hardik Pandya's expressions shows he wasn't expecting a Mumbai reference in New York(Screengrab)
Hardik Pandya's expressions shows he wasn't expecting a Mumbai reference in New York(Screengrab)

But times have changed. The IPL is now a thing of past, and if there was ever a more opportune time for Hardik to redeem himself, it's now, with the T20 World Cup underway. Thus far, Hardik has ticked all boxes. He scored a blazing 40 against Bangladesh in the warm-up game and followed it with figures of 3/27 against Ireland. If his current frame of mind is anything to go by, Hardik is recovering well on his path to redemption.

Hardik's mind would have remotely harked back to the Wankhede jeering when, after the match, he was asked by the broadcaster, "It feels like Mumbai here in New York. Is it fun?" referring to the number of Indian that had turned up to watch the game. But whatever little jitters Hardik may have had, he shook them off and handled the question like a pro.

Also Read: Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya dubbed 'best buds' after wholesome moment steals the show during India vs Ireland T20WC match

"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 said.

As evident, Hardik in India jersey and MI Blues are two different cricketers. One could sense that Hardik is in a much better headspace than he was, say, two weeks ago. With the bat, Hardik brought out the big shots and with the ball in hand, it was almost as if he is resuming from where he had left off in the 2023 ODI World Cup.

Hardik Pandya landing it right

Hardik first cleaned Lorcan Tucker with a fuller delivery that jagged back in after pitching before getting Curtis Campher out caught behind. Pandya added one more to his wickets tally, getting rid of Mark Adair to become India's joint third-highest wicket-taker in the T20 World Cups. With 16 wickets, he is tied with Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja ahead of him.

"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," said Hardik.

Hardik's form will be crucial for India if they are to reign supreme over arch-rivals Pakistan in Sunday's blockbuster encounter. The last two times India played Pakistan at the World Cups, Hardik scored a vital 40 off 37 balls in Melbourne and picked up 2/34 in Ahmedabad.

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