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  5. 'He's smiling too much': Kevin Pietersen feels backlash from fans is affecting Hardik Pandya's game

'He's smiling too much': Kevin Pietersen feels backlash from fans is affecting Hardik Pandya's game

Hardik Pandya has led Mumbai Indians to two wins in the first six matches of the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League. He has been having a hard time with several fans not supporting him. Former England player Kevin Pietersen feels the issue has been affecting his game too.

Edited By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Published on: April 15, 2024 12:25 IST
Hardik Pandya Mumbai Indians
Image Source : BCCI/IPL Hardik Pandya.

Hardik Pandya's start of the journey as Mumbai Indians skipper has mostly been sour till now. The star all-rounder has faced the backlash of the fans in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League. This has been happening on social media ever since he took over the MI captaincy from Rohit Sharma, who led them to five IPL titles. But now it has been seen on the grounds too. 

Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen believes that the backlash is affecting Hardik's game and is trying to act to look happy. "I actually think, with Hardik Pandya, everything away from the game is affecting him so much. He's smiling too much when he does the toss. He's trying to act like he is so happy. He is not happy. I have been there. I have been in the firing line. And I can tell you now, it affects you. If what's happening to Hardik Pandya," Pietersen said in a Star Sports show during the MI vs CSK game.

He said that Hardik would not want to get treated like this, citing it hurts when the fans treat a player like this. "If what's happening to Hardik Pandya, the boos that we've just been hearing now and how happy they are to see the CSK former captain, the lion (MS Dhoni) smacking him all over the park, it hurts you because he has emotion and he's an Indian player. And he doesn't want to be treated like this. So when this is happening, it's affecting him. It's affecting his cricket and something needs to happen," the ex-England star added.

Meanwhile, he also criticised Hardik's captaincy for not turning up to spinners when Shivam Dube was on the crease despite the pacers also going for runs. "What I saw this evening wasn't good enough. I saw a captain who had plan A from a team meeting that was five hours ago and a captain who didn't want to go to plan B when he should have gone to plan B. Like how on this Earth have you not bowled a spinner when your seamers are going for 20. Brian Lara said can we please bowl a spinner? Somebody needs to bowl here. You need to change the pace of the game," Pietersen assessed Hardik's leadership vs CSK.

Hardik has not been at his best with both bat and the ball in the ongoing season. He has scored 131 runs from six matches and has picked three wickets. He seems to be under pressure too.

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