‘I spoke to Hardik Pandya. He won’t allow…’: Michael Clarke reveals MI captain’s true feeling on getting booed | Cricket

Three matches, 120 overs of incessant booing. It’s not easy being in Hardik Pandya’s shoes. He came back to the franchise that made him, to arrest Mumbai Indians’ slide but the crowd has taken the newly-appointed MI captain to a different ride altogether. One that is clearly not filled with warmth.

Hardik Pandya has not gotten the reaction from the public which he would have liked. (AP)
Hardik Pandya has not gotten the reaction from the public which he would have liked. (AP)

Everywhere Hardik goes, the jeering he gets is louder than the previous venue. He wasn’t spared at the Wankhede either. For a moment they went quiet when Hardik was the only ray of hope to dig MI out of trouble but once that extinguished, it was back to square one. Hardik isn’t able to win the crowd over, and three consecutive defeats at this year’s IPL hasn’t helped his cause either.

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With there being a six-day break between MI’s last game against Rajasthan Royals and the next against Delhi Capitals, the belief is that some of the heat from the public will die down, but it could have an adverse effect also if MI get beaten again. However, former Australia captain Michael Clarke has revealed that Hardik is actually in a better space to what the belief is. Sanjay Manjrekar’s ‘behave’ warning to the public, the look on Hardik’s face, the post-match press conferences after the RR tie suggested that the reactions may finally be getting to the MI captain, but Clarke states otherwise.

“It doesn’t help when your team is not performing. I spoke to Hardik Pandya when I got over here and he seems like he is going fine. He’s a really confident sort of a person. He won’t allow this to get to him but he does need to get this team winning games of cricket. Mumbai is such a good team and there’s always high expectations. The fans want them at the top of the tree, but at the moment they are at the bottom,” Clarke said on ESPN’s Around the Wicket.

MI need to start winning, Clarke reminds Pandya

Irrespective of whether the boos relent with time, the former Australia captain stressed on the one approach, which more than anything else, can help Hardik win some support. And that is by winning matches. MI came close in their first game against Gujarat Titans, only to choke in the final five overs of the match. In the second, their bowlers were hammered to all parts of the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium as Sunrisers Hyderabad pummelled 277/3 – the highest score ever in the history of the IPL.

But MI’s worst game thus far was reserved for their home ground, where batting first, the five-time champions could only muster 125 and failed to show any fight with the ball. The result left the Mumbai fans fuming, some of whom even celebrated their defeat blaming Hardik for it. Clarke insisted that although Hardik may seem alright, it’s never easy on a player when the people of the country he represents turn against him.

“First and foremost, he just needs to concentrate on team winning and him performing individually. But it has been heavy to be honest, to be at the ground and to hear the fans boo their captain and a guy who has had huge influence in this Mumbai team and impact with the success that they have had,” added Clarke.


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