Kieron Pollard 'sick and fed up' of Hardik Pandya pinpointing: 'You all will be cheering for him in less than 6 weeks' | Crickit

Kieron Pollard 'sick and fed up' of Hardik Pandya pinpointing: 'You all will be cheering for him in less than 6 weeks'

Apr 15, 2024 11:21 AM IST

Kieron Pollard threw his weight behind the under-fire Hardik Pandya, under whom Mumbai Indians lost their 4th match of IPL 2024 last night.

Kieron Pollard has had enough of the finger pointing that's been directed at Hardik Pandya throughout Mumbai Indians' IPL 2024 campaign. Hardik has copped plenty of flak for almost anything and everything that he has done – bowling, batting, captaincy, making decisions – just because the public feels Rohit Sharma should still be captaining the Mumbai Indians. And on Sunday, the skipper came in the firing line when he leaked 26 runs in the last over, getting hammered for three sixes in a row by the evergreen MS Dhoni.

Kieron Pollard has backed Hardik Pandya to start getting cheers soon. (PTI Images)
Kieron Pollard has backed Hardik Pandya to start getting cheers soon. (PTI Images)

As the game progressed, things went from bad to worse for Hardik, who later failed to make an impact with the bat either. With MI chasing in excess of 200, the run rate has climbed to over 15 an over when Hardik joined Rohit. At that stage, there was no option but to go at it from ball one, but Hardik struggled, scratching his way to 2 off 6 before eventually perishing, making his evening even longer.

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Rohit waged a lone battle en route to scoring his second IPL century, but even his knock of 105 off 67 balls wasn't enough to save MI the blushed. As Hardik cut a disappointed figure, Pollard, the MI batting coach, came to the captain's defence, and made a headline-churning remark. The former MI all-rounder backed Hardik to the hilt and warned detractors that it's only a matter of time before people got behind Pandya, referring to the T20 World Cup.

"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 am seeing an individual who is working bloody hard to improve his skills and plying his trade," Pollard said after the match.

"I am sick and fed up looking to pinpoint individuals; cricket is a team game at the end of the day. This is an individual that is going to represent the country in less than six weeks' time, and you all are going to cheer him and want him to do well when the time comes. So high time we try to encourage and stop nitpicking and see if we can get the best out of one of the great allrounders 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 that when he comes out on top, I'll sit back and watch everyone sing his praises."

Pollard has seen Hardik's rise all through the latter's time at MI. Once a destructive all-rounder, capable of hitting lusty blows at will, Hardik's batting hasn't quite been the same I the last couple of years. Once in a while, he will give you a 40 off 2 balls kind of a knock, but innings like 71 off 30 balls and the rampaging 76 off 43, or even the 86-ball century against Sri Lanka have gone missing.

Pollard on Pandya's batting approach

Pollard feels Pandya's fresh approach is part of his evolution, one that may not be recognised initially but will eventually find its way to the public's heart. Pandya is expected to be a big cog in the wheels for India at the T20 World Cup starting June 1 in West Indies and the USA and Pollard is confident that the crowd will get behind Hardik and 'sing his praises'.

"As an individual you have to evolve. When you are young, you have the youthful exuberance. You go out and do things in a certain manner. The older you get, accountability and responsibility kick in," Pollard said about Hardik's batting.

"What I am seeing is the guy is evolving. We, as individuals, want to see certain things but sometimes the game does not demand certain things and [players] are going to make mistakes as you go along, as we all have done. The individual has put in the work and hard work pays off. So, all of us will be singing his praises when time comes."

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