Hardik Pandya can survive fans’ anger: Boult, Chawla back embattled MI skipper

PTI, Mar 31, 2024, 7:44 PM IST

Rajasthan Royals’ pacer Trent Boult on Sunday backed his former teammate Hardik Pandya to ‘block out white noise’ after the Mumbai Indians skipper found himself at the receiving end of crowd’s booing at Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in the ongoing IPL. Pandya has taken over MI captaincy from Rohit Sharma this season upon his return from Gujarat Titans and the whole saga of change of leadership has not gone down well with the fans. “It is something you cannot control, as professional sportspeople it is what you are exposed to in a way. You have to block out the white noise and focus on the job, (but) it is easier said than done,” Boult told the media here at the Wankhede Stadium.

Boult said the booing will eventually die down and backed Pandya to not get bogged down. “There are a lot of passionate fans in this country and speaking of Hardik specifically, he is one of my favourite Indian cricketers and I do not think the booing will hold out for too long. I am sure, he is one of those guys who can put it aside and focus on the job,” Boult added. Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians’ veteran spinner Piyush Chawla said the situation will change once the team, which has again made a disappointing start to the IPL losing the first two games, gets a win in their kitty. “Well, that you can’t really help because you know, they are a crowd and whatever they are doing is beyond our control so we can’t really say what they are doing,” Chawla said. Chawla claimed that Pandya has remained unaffected. “The way Hardik has taken it…he is just focusing on the game, he is not even worried about what the crowd is doing and once we get a win under our belt, things will be totally different.” The right-arm spinner said MI have also looked to focus on the job at hand rather than focussing on what the fans have been doing inside the stadium.

“You get used to it, because you know, whatever is happening, whatever people are doing in the crowd, you can’t really help it because it’s beyond our control. ”We just have to focus on our game and whatever they are doing, let them do. We just have to focus on our cricket,” he said. However, Chawla hoped that the ‘true’ Mumbai fans would show up on Monday at the Wankhede Stadium to support the team in their first home game of the season. “At the end of the day it’s about the team; it’s not about the individual. I am really hoping when the crowd comes in tomorrow, they will support the team after the kind of start we had,” he said.

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