Pollard defends Pandya, says ‘sick & fed up’ of people pinpointing individuals for team’s losses


PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 11:05 AM IST

Hardik Pandya (Credit: PTI / File)

Mumbai: Mumbai Indians batting coach Kieron Pollard is “sick and fed up” of people pinpointing particular individuals for the team’s losses as he urged fans not to “nitpick” struggling captain Hardik Pandya after MI lost to Chennai Super Kings by 20 runs in their Indian Premier League match here.

CSK legend MS Dhoni took 26 runs off Pandya’s final over with the help of three consecutive sixes as the MI skipper struggled for right line and length while also bowling two wides at a crucial time.

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.

“You’re going to have those days. I’m sick and fed up of just looking to pinpoint at individuals. Cricket is a team sport at the end of the day,” Pollard said at the post-match press conference Sunday night.

“He (Pandya) is a confident guy. He has been great around the group. In cricket, you have good days and you have bad days. I’m seeing an individual who’s working bloody hard to continue his skill and to ply his trade.”

Pollard reminded fans about the possibility of Pandya being picked for India’s T20 World Cup campaign, saying if that happens everyone would be ‘singing his praises’.

“This is an individual that’s going to represent the country in less than six weeks’ time. We’re all going to be cheering for him and want him to do well,” said the West Indian who himself is a MI legend.

“It’s about high time that we try to encourage and try to stop nitpick. See if we can get the best out of one of the great all-rounders India could ever produce.

“He can bat, he can bowl, he can field. He has an X factor about him. I hope very well deep down within my heart that when he comes out on top, I’ll sit back and I’ll watch everyone sing his praises.”

The match witnessed intermittent booing of Pandya who struggled with both bat and ball and also received criticism from former England captain Kevin Pietersen who claimed that the MI skipper has been ‘smiling too much’.

Pollard said he is seeing Pandya evolving and backed him to turn things around.

“As an individual, you have to evolve as well. When you’re young and there’s that youthful exuberance, you go out and you do things in a certain manner. But the older that you get, at times, responsibility sort of kicks in, accountability to teams sort of kicks in,” he said.

“What I’m seeing is a guy that is evolving. Obviously, we as individuals, we want to see certain things, but sometimes the game does not demand certain things.”

Pollard said while Mumbai Indians would revisit their plans on Dhoni but added that anyone could have been at the receiving end of the former CSK skipper’s onslaught, like Pandya experienced Sunday night.

“Yes, three sixes, 20 runs, some runs in the last over, but anyone could have gone for 20 runs in the last over as well. MS has been world-class for years upon years. We love to see him on the cricket field, walking out into stadiums. We’re all in awe of what he has accomplished.

“The scoreline (20 runs), that’s the difference. But cricket is much more than what we see at the end. For us, it’s much deeper than that. We’re going to dissect and we have done before throughout the tournament and do our homework and try to come back better as a team,” Pollard said.

“MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya… you have plans of how you want to bowl to them, and you go back and you look to see if it was executed or not,” he added.

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