IPL 2024: Wasim Akram defends Hardik Pandya following relentless criticism

The Mumbai Indians’ skipper has been booed in a number of stadiums this season

By Web Desk
April 26, 2024
Wasim Akram (L) believes fans should support Hardik Pandya. — AFP/BCCI

Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram voiced his support for Mumbai Indians’ skipper Hardik Pandya, who has been criticised relentlessly due to the team’s poor performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

It has not been a smooth ride for the five-time IPL winners as they have just won three matches in the IPL 2024 so far and their chances of qualifying for the playoffs continue to shrink.

Pandya has been the main subject of criticism and trolls directed towards the franchise ever since replacing Rohit Sharma as the skipper, he had to deal with a hostile environment in several stadiums as the decision wasn’t welcomed by fans.

Akram talked about the mindset of fans in the sub-continent saying that they love to hold on to past grievances which does not allow them to rally behind the skipper.

"This is the problem in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We never forget. We tell our kids that when Pandya's kid is born, you have to remind him why he became captain 20 years ago. We don't move on," Akram said while speaking to Sportskeeda.

While he did voice his support for Pandya, Akram was of the mind that Sharma should’ve continued as MI’s captain for at least one more season.

"In franchise cricket, such things happen. Look at how CSK took the captaincy decision for the long run, and maybe, even they (MI) had the same idea. This was not a personal decision, but in my view, Rohit Sharma should have continued as captain for one more year. Perhaps, next year, Hardik Pandya could have been the captain," Akram said.

Earlier, former Indian player and the 2007 T20 World Cup winner, Robin Uthappa, revealed that Pandya is dealing with mental health issues due to constant booing.

"The mocking, trolling, the memes about his [Pandya] fitness. You don't think it hurts him? It hurts him. It hurts any human being. How many people actually know the reality of it? Hardik is dealing with mental health issues, for sure,” Uthappa had said.

“We, as people, I understand, as Indians, we are emotional. But it is not right to impose this kind of treatment on any human being. It is unbecoming as a society for us to do that to someone and be okay with it. We should not be laughing along with it. We should not be forwarding these memes."