Hardik Pandya opens up on facing 'difficult times' before T20 World Cup: 'Sometimes life puts you in situations where…' | Crickit
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Hardik Pandya opens up on facing 'difficult times' before T20 World Cup: 'Sometimes life puts you in situations where…'

Jun 02, 2024 08:23 AM IST

Ahead of the T20 World Cup, Hardik Pandya ended his silence on bitter IPL 2024 season as MI captain.

It has been a "difficult" few months for Hardik Pandya in his cricketing career. The all-rounder was expected to make a grand return to Mumbai Indians, but following a backlash from fans on social media, after he replaced Rohit Sharma as the captain, Hardik incurred brutal treatment from the crowd at each of the venues during the IPL 2024 season amid a forgettable run both with the bat and ball. If that wasn't enough, off the field, speculations are rife about his divorce with wife Natasa Stankovic. On Saturday, ahead of the start of India's T20 World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh in New York, Hardik opened up on the bitter IPL season, where he was also criticised for his captaincy.

India's Hardik Pandya greets fans during an exhibition cricket match between Bangladesh and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium(AP)
India's Hardik Pandya greets fans during an exhibition cricket match between Bangladesh and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium(AP)

Hardik faced the wrath of Mumbai Indians' shocking decision last December when they named him Rohit's successor for the IPL 2024 season. The attack on social media through the course of the build-up to the 17th edition of the league transformed into Hardik being jeered at and booed at almost all the venues.

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Hardik's struggle was evident in his performance, or lack thereof. He could only muster 216 runs in 13 innings with the bat and took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 10.75. His captaincy also came under fire as MI finished a disappointing 10th in the points table with just four wins in the season, a testament to the uphill battle they faced.

Speaking to Star Sports ahead of the T20 World Cup, Hardik acknowledged the “difficult times” he incurred over the last few months, but said that he “won't run away from it” and will keep fighting hard.

"Eventually, I believe, you have to stay in the battle. Sometimes life puts you in situations where things are tough, but I believe that if you leave the game or the field, the battle that is, you won't get what you want from your sport, or the results you are looking for," Hardik said. "So, yeah, it has been difficult, but at the same time, I have been process-driven, I have tried to follow the same routines I used to follow earlier.

"At the same time these things happen; there are good times and bad times, these are phases that come and go. That is fine. I have gone through these phases many times and I will come out of it as well."

Despite what unravelled in IPL 2024, Hardik has been entrusted with the vice-captaincy role in the impending T20 World Cup and will have a chance to redeem himself.

"I don't take my successes too seriously. Whatever I have done well, I have forgotten about them immediately and moved forward. Same with difficult times," he said. "I don't run away from it. I face everything with [my] chin up.

"As they say, this too shall pass. So coming out [of these phases] is simple: just play the sport, accept that [you need to] maybe get better at your skillset, keep working hard - hard work never goes to waste - and keep smiling."

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