'I Was Actually The One Who Criticized Him': Irfan Pathan Reflects On His Strong Disapproval Of Hardik Pandya

July 09,2024

Hardik Pandya's appointment as vice-captain of the Indian side ahead of the T20 World Cup 2024 was questioned by former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan. Known for his candidness, Irfan frequently criticized the Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder throughout the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Cut to 2024, Hardik has achieved his redemption. Despite enduring boos, heckles, and various criticisms leading up to the T20 World Cup, Pandya made a remarkable comeback by leading India to its second ICC World T20 title in the Caribbean. The star all-rounder successfully defended 16 runs in the final over against South Africa, securing the World Champion title for Rohit Sharma and his team for the second time in the shortest format.

Irfan stated that he criticized Hardik because his performances in the IPL 2024 were below par.

"It's been a special journey for Hardik Pandya. Coming back from all the criticism, I was actually the one who criticized him because he was not performing during the IPL time. He was making a lot of mistakes at that time," Irfan told Star Sports.

"From there to coming back and winning the World Cup has been special. He showed the character, he performed. With Rohit Sharma, with Jasprit Bumrah, the kind of performance he did to make a difference to the Indian cricket team has been so special," Pathan further told.

Hardik took over from Rohit as the Mumbai Indians captain for IPL 2024. His appointment upset MI fans, leading to constant boos during the league stage. Under Pandya's leadership, MI became the first team to exit the playoff race in IPL 2024.

"I had a gut feeling that he (Hardik) was saving it all for the World Cup. I will never forget his words: 'Ek baar performance aa jaaye fir jo aaj gaali de rahe wahi taaliyaan bajayenge (Once I start performing, those who are abusing me will be clapping for me). This is what he told me when I was also going through a really tough time. He said 'let people talk, we will do our best and give 100 percent to the game we love'," Ishan Kishan told the Indian Express.