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  5. 'It's irrelevant': Steve Smith recalls personal experience, advises Hardik Pandya to block out 'crowd abuse'

'It's irrelevant': Steve Smith recalls personal experience, advises Hardik Pandya to block out 'crowd abuse'

Former Australia skipper Steve Smith, who himself had a bout of booing and hostility from the crowd following the Sandpaper Gate, has advised the new Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya regarding the same. Hardik has faced crowd abuse both in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad where MI have played so far.

Edited By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: March 30, 2024 12:44 IST
Hardik Pandya has begun his IPL career as Mumbai Indians
Image Source : AP Hardik Pandya has begun his IPL career as Mumbai Indians captain to crowd hostility and negative reception at a couple of venues so far

Mumbai Indians' new captain Hardik Pandya's journey in the role has begun with hostility and extreme reactions from the crowd as well as from fans on social media. The transition from Rohit Sharma to Hardik hasn't panned out so far in the way the five-time champions would have wanted but some of the reactions to the same have been atrocious. The fans of the current Indian captain have been after Hardik's life and some even abused his wife on her social media posts and the booing was constant at both the venues where MI have played so far, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

It hasn't helped that Mumbai Indians have lost both the games and Hardik's decisions have been questionable, whether the bowling changes or deciding the batting order. It seems Hardik hasn't been himself and he may not be showing it but would be getting affected by all of this. But what can he do to overcome it? Steve Smith suggests, "block it out, it's all irrelevant." Former Australian skipper Smith, who saw all this from close quarters and suffered personally post the Sandpaper Gate has urged Hardik to ignore all of it and pay no heed to it.

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo's TimeOut, Smith said, "No one outside knows what you are going through. No one [from outside] is in that changeroom. Personally, for me, it doesn't bother me. I don't care. I don't pay any attention.

Smith said that everyone responds to such things differently and suggested that Hardik might be getting affected given this is something new - getting booed as an Indian cricketer, that too in your own country. "You know it's all white noise, but certainly players do hear things and everyone's entitled to their own emotions and how they respond to those," Smith said.

"So is it affecting him [Hardik]? Maybe. It's possible. He probably hasn't experienced that before in, in any walk of life. So it's natural, I suppose, and particularly being in India and a star Indian player, to be in that position where some fans are booing you, it's certainly something he wouldn't have experienced," he added.

The only way for Hardik to get back at those abusive fanatics will be with performance, both personally and from the team but it won't be easy as Wankhede Stadium might be similar and Mumbai Indians face the high-flying Rajasthan Royals on Monday, April 1.

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