Irfan Pathan owns Hardik Pandya on-air with 'Rohit Sharma is my captain' remark after Akash Madhwal ignores MI skipper | Crickit
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Irfan Pathan owns Hardik Pandya on-air with 'Rohit Sharma is my captain' remark after Akash Madhwal ignores MI skipper

Apr 23, 2024 03:38 PM IST

Irfan Pathan reacted to the viral video between Rohit Sharma, Akash Madhwal and Hardik Pandya from Mumbai Indians' IPL 2024 game against Punjab Kings.

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan weighed in on the video featuring Rohit Sharma, Akash Madhwal and Hardik Pandya that went viral during Mumbai Indians' IPL 2024 game against Punjab Kings last week. Before the start of the last over, in which MI needed to defend 12, Madhwal was surrounded by current captain Hardik and former skipper Rohit as plans were being devised to stop PBKS. In a temporary change of guard, Rohit took over the captaincy, as Madhwal ignored Hardik's inputs and stuck by every word of what the five-time IPL winning skipper had to say. In the end, it all worked well as MI won the contest by nine runs.

Hardik Pandya has had a forgettable IPL 2024 season as captain of the Mumbai Indians. (AFP)
Hardik Pandya has had a forgettable IPL 2024 season as captain of the Mumbai Indians. (AFP)

On Monday, as MI were struggling at 25/3 batting first against the Rajasthan Royals, Pathan took a brutal dig at Hardik, while doing commentary. Member of the 2007 T20 World Cup winning team, Pathan feels MI and some of its players are probably still seeing Rohit, and not Hardik as their captain, referring to the Madhwal incident.

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"In the previous match, there was a very interesting situation that unfolded. Before the final over, Rohit Sharma, Akash Madhwal and Hardik Pandya were standing together. It was a full-on pressure situation. Akash Madhwal was only looking at Rohit Sharma. Only talking to him as to what sort of field to set. Now that happens when you have confidence that 'This guy [Rohit], not the other one [Hardik] is my captain. This thing needs to change which I feel Hardik can," Pathan said on air.

His criticism of Pandya didn't end there. After the MI captain was dismissed for 10 off 10, Pathan highlighted how Hardik's ability to play the big shots has diminished, and which rightfully is a cause of concern. The first few years after Hardik burst on to the scene, his ability to hit those long, towering sixes made him a valuable asset with the bat. It was because of his penchant for hitting the lusty blows that Hardik has been able to play some memorable knocks for India such as the 75 against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final, the twin 90s against Australia and an 86-ball Test ton against Sri Lanka.

Where has Hardik Pandya's hitting vanished?

But alarmingly, Hardik no longer seems to be the same batter that once struck fear into the minds of the opposition bowlers. Barring the one-odd knock, Hardik more often than not struggles to get behind and in line of the ball that used to give him the power and the elevation to hit the ball big. In simple words, Pathan pointed out that anytime there's a pitch that gives any kind of assist to the bowlers, Hardik's batting becomes a bit of a letdown

"Hardik Pandya’s hitting ability is going down. That's a big worry in the larger picture. At the Wankhede he is different but on pitches where there is little help is what is worrisome for him," he added.

Under Hardik, MI's Playoff chances dangle by a thread. Placed 7th on the points table, MI, with 6 points from 8 matches, need to now win all their remaining games and expect other results to go their way if Mumbai dream of securing a place in the top four.

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