IPL 2024: Steve Smith offers key advice to Hardik Pandya on handling crowd abuse

Mar 30, 2024

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In the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hardik Pandya was targeted by the home crowd in both Ahmedabad and Hyderabad while playing away matches for Mumbai Indians (MI) against Gujarat Titans (GT) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) respectively.

Hostility towards Hardik Pandya in IPL 2024

Unfortunately, Mumbai suffered defeats in both encounters. Pandya, the talented Indian all-rounder, had faced backlash from the franchise supporters after assuming the captaincy from long-serving skipper Rohit Sharma, following his high-profile transfer from GT.

Steve Smith offers advice to Hardik Pandya amid criticism

Smith, the renowned Australian cricketer, recently offered some advice to Pandya, urging him to tune out the external negativity. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Smith dismissed the significance of such hostility, emphasizing that outsiders are unaware of the player’s personal challenges. He further stressed the importance of solidarity among teammates in the change room.

“I’d try and just say, to block it out, it’s all irrelevant…No one outside knows what you are going through. No one [from outside] is in that change room,” Smith said.

Also READ: IPL 2024: Did Hardik Pandya really push Lasith Malinga after MI’s defeat against SRH? Here’s the video

Concerns over impact of crowd hostility on Pandya

When asked about the potential impact of ongoing criticism, particularly in the wake of Mumbai’s initial defeats, Smith highlighted the risk of it affecting Pandya, who is unaccustomed to facing such hostility from Indian crowds.

“Personally, for me, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t care. I don’t pay any attention. 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. 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,” the 34-year-old added.

Mumbai Indians’ homecoming and Pandya’s response anticipated

MI will face Rajasthan Royals (RR) on April 1 in their inaugural home game of the season. Smith is eagerly anticipating the atmosphere at the Wankhede Stadium and is curious about how Hardik Pandya will cope with it.

“So he’s under a little bit of pressure at the moment and it’ll be interesting to see what the reception’s like in their first home game at Wankhede in a couple of days’ time. We have heard a few boos going around at the grounds, which that’s been disappointing from my aspect. But I’m intrigued to see what the reception’s like in Mumbai. We know how big a star Rohit is and how much he is loved inside that stadium,” Smith concluded.

Also READ: IPL 2024: Social media users target Hardik Pandya’s wife amid MI’s successive defeats

For latest cricket news & updates, visit CricketTimes.com.

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