Absolutely ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy: Gavaskar slams Hardik

PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 11:56 AM IST

Star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya faced scathing criticism from prominent former players after Mumbai Indians’ fourth loss in the ongoing IPL with the great Sunil Gavaskar slamming him for his ”absolutely ordinary bowling and ordinary captaincy” so far.

Booed and heckled by fans ever since he took over MI’s captaincy, Pandya found himself in the line of fire of the legendary Gavaskar and former England captain Kevin Pietersen after his team slumped to yet another defeat, this time to Chennai Super Kings, here on Sunday night.

It was the 26 runs that Pandya conceded in the final over with Mahendra Singh Dhoni going hammer and tongs, which proved to be decisive as Chennai Super Kings notched up a 20-run win over MI.

”Oh, absolutely ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy. They should have been restricted despite the fact that Ruturaj Gaikwad had batted so well along with Shivam Dube. I do believe that they should have been restricted to 185-190,” Gavaskar said.

”Probably the worst kind of bowling that I’ve seen for a long, long time,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports during the innings break after CSK posted 206 for 4.

”It almost looks like I’ve had this embrace with my hero. I’ve got the kind of deliveries that he’s gonna hit for sixes. One six is fine. The next one is a length ball when you know this batter is hunting for a length ball that he wants to hit. ”Third ball is again a full toss on the legs when you know he (Dhoni) is looking for a six.” Pandya finished with figures of 2 for 43 from his four overs and also had a tough time with the bat, managing a mere two runs off six balls at a crucial juncture of the game as MI ended at 186 for six despite a fine 63-ball 105 by former skipper Rohit Sharma.

Pandya has faced fans’ ire right from the first match and even at the Wankhede Stadium, boos have followed him, forcing Rohit (against Rajasthan Royals) and Virat Kohli (in MI’s game against Royal Challengers Bengaluru) to ask the crowd to calm down a bit.

Pietersen feels the outside noise is taking a toll on the flamboyant all-rounder.

”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. ”The boos we have been hearing just now and I know they are happy to see former CSK captain (Dhoni), the lion, smacking him (Hardik) all over the park, it hurts you. Because he has emotions. And he is 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 43-year-old former batter also wondered why Pandya didn’t use his spinners when the pacers were being targeted by CSK batters.

”What I saw this evening wasn’t good enough. I saw a captain that had plan A from a team meeting that was five hours ago and a captain that 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.” MI will next take on Punjab Kings on April 18 in Chandigarh.

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