IPL 2024: I’m fed up of we pinpointing individuals; cricket is a team game, says Pollard

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As if the return to his Indian Premier League alma mater – that too as captain – has been received with hostility by fans who have made their displeasure very clear wasn’t enough, Hardik Pandya has been dealing with getting his act together at the helm of affairs of a struggling Mumbai Indians lot.

To make matters worse, he faced Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wrath in the most sought-after IPL clash between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. In a last over that cost MI 26 runs, Hardik’s three successive mediocre deliveries were duly dispatched into the stands by Dhoni. It kind of shook the all-rounder, whose misery compounded with the bat as he scored two off six balls.

Kieron Pollard, the Mumbai Indians batting coach, hoped that the MI supporters stop nitpicking on Hardik.

“I don’t know if it will affect his confidence. He is a confident guy, he has been great around the group. In cricket, you have good days and bad days, and I see an individual who is working bloody hard to improve his skills and plying his trade,” Pollard said after MI’s fourth loss in six games.

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“I am fed up of we pinpointing individuals; cricket is a team game at the end of the day. This is an individual who is going to represent the country in less than six weeks’ time, and all are going to cheer for him and want him to do well. So high time we try to encourage and stop nitpicking and see if we can get the best out of one or the great all-rounders India has produced.

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

For now, though, as Mumbai Indians embark on a prolonged spell away from home, captain Hardik will be hoping to find winning ways for a struggling team.

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