Former India all-rounder and 2007 T20 World Cup winner Irfan Pathan lashed out at Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya for not leading by example last night in Wankhede. In what was MI’s first home game of the season, the team, instead of fighting back and trying to win the game, succumbed to the pressure against Rajasthan Royals to go another match without a win. Mumbai will now be hoping to turn it around when they meet Delhi Capitals up next in front of home support.

Boos and jeers were expected to come to an end last night for Hardik Pandya but things aggravated even more instead of slowing down. The crowd, right from the coin toss, was continuously jeering the all-rounder for that infamous move back to Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans. What has instigated the fans even more is that MI management’s decision to remove Rohit Sharma and appoint Pandya as the captain.

Then the results Hardik Pandya’s side endured in the first 3 matches, further ignited the anger of fans. If the first loss where MI reached very close could be forgotten then the loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2nd match felt more like an insult. Never did a team concede 277 runs in the league. Then last night against Rajasthan Royals, MI produced yet another embarrassing performance with the bat as they posted this IPL’s lowest total on the board – 125.

Irfan Pathan questions Hardik Pandya as to how is he going to earn himself respect

Irfan Pathan, who is a prominent and important part of Star Sports’ Hindi commentary entourage, is always very active on X (formerly Twitter), especially during IPL matches. Last night when RR were playing against MI, Pathan posted a series of tweets about the match. But the second last tweet he made last night about Hardik Pandya is what caught the eyes of the public.

Pathan did not really like the way Hardik Pandya batted last night as he departed for 34 runs, having arrived at the middle order following a dramatic top-order collapse. The former all-rounder made it clear from his side that Pandya cannot earn respect until he stands up for the team in difficult situations. And for a fact, the Baroda-born cricketer had the perfect opportunity last night to make amends and get some love back from the fans.

“You always want your Leader to do the difficult things. If he doesn’t do it he won’t earn his team’s respect,” Irfan Pathan wrote on X.   

Irfan Pathan cryptically targets Pandya with another tweet

Before going at Hardik Pandya with that leadership tweet, Irfan Pathan had previously targeted him, cryptically by using Jasprit Bumrah’s name. Before last night’s match, Pandya had either himself bowled the first over or given somebody else the onus instead of trusting the best bowler around the league that is Bumrah. That decision too, had become a hot topic of discussion and last night since MI posted less than 130 as the target, Pandya had to look at Bumrah for the first over.

That was what Pathan tried to highlight, “Not a rocket science to get your best bowler early on. Finally Bumrah with the new ball. It was forced cos of small total by RR.” 


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