MI vs LSG: "Even if Hardik Pandya had scored 500 runs..." - Gautam Gambhir takes an indirect dig at Irfan Pathan

Updated - 15 May 2024, 03:23 PM

Gautam Gambhir and Hardik Pandya
Gautam Gambhir and Hardik Pandya (Image Credits: Twitter)

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir lashed out at Hardik Pandya's critics, saying that it's very easy to comment while sitting in an AC room. Gautam Gambhir said that Hardik Pandya would perform well at the T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and the USA. 

Hardik Pandya was appointed Mumbai Indians skipper ahead of last year's mini-auction. The all-rounder replaced long-standing skipper Rohit Sharma. To make matters worse, the Mumbai Indians became the first team to be eliminated from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2024.

Hardik Pandya also failed to make an impact with both bat and ball in the ongoing tournament. The right-handed batter has scored 200 runs in 13 matches at a dismal average of 18.18 and a strike rate of 144.93. He has taken 11 wickets but at an economy rate of more than 10.

There Will Be No Pressure Of Captaincy On Hardik Pandya - Gautam Gambhir

Speaking on Sportskeeda, Gautam Gambhir highlighted that Hardik Pandya will have more freedom during the 2024 T20 World Cup without the burden of captaincy. He emphasized that T20 is a format where even small contributions can be impactful.

"T20 is a format where if you score 25 off 10 or take two back-to-back wickets, everything comes back. Plus, there will be no pressure of captaincy on Hardik Pandya at the T20 World Cup. So, he can be even more free. It is very easy to say sitting in an AC room that he hasn't performed well," Gambhir told Sportskeeda.

Hardik Pandya has been included in India's squad for the upcoming ICC tournament. The MI skipper has been named as Rohit Sharma's deputy for the tournament. He is expected to make an impact as he is the only player who can bowl in India's top order.

Hardik Pandya Would Have Still Been Criticised - Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir stated that Hardik Pandya would have faced criticism even if he had scored 500 runs, considering Mumbai Indians' standings in the points table.

"There are a lot of factors involved in a player performing well. There is the pressure of captaincy and the team's performance. Even if he had scored 500 runs, he would have still been criticised for MI's position in the points table," Gambhir added.

The Hardik Pandya-led team is currently in ninth place in the standings. The Mumbai team secured only four victories out of 13 matches. Jasprit Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, taking 20 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.48.

Always Going To Be Pressure - Gautam Gambhir

The cricketer-turned-commentator expressed confidence in Hardik Pandya's abilities to perform well in the World Cup, stating that ups and downs are common in the game.

"I think as a professional sportsman, when you go to play international cricket, there is always going to be pressure, especially in World Cups. Very few players get the opportunity to play a World Cup for their country. The kind of player Hardik Pandya is, there's no doubt that he could do well. Ups and downs are part and parcel of the game," Gambhir further added.

The Mumbai Indians will take on the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in their final league stage match at the Wankhede Stadium on May 17, Friday. The team will be hoping to end their campaign on a positive note.

Also read: Delhi Capitals were conspiring to bench Tristan Stubbs throughout IPL 2024? Pravin Amre truth bomb shocks cricketing world