Can Hardik Pandya Win Back Mumbai Indians' Fans?
Can Hardik Pandya Win Back Mumbai Indians' Fans?

Hardik Pandya's quest to reclaim the lost love

As hostility goes what Hardik Pandya has faced in the first few days of the IPL 2024 is quite unprecedented. To make it worse, it’s not going to slow down anytime soon, obviously not after the team have started their campaign with three straight defeats, the latest of which came last night against Rajasthan Royals. The top-order flew away, showing no application to the fiery spell of Trent Boult; the middle order did provide a sort of resistance, with Pandya himself top-scoring with 34, yet the target was just modest for the bowlers to make a game. 


Mumbai Indians are not known for such faltering starts; they have started on a worse note and even went on to clinch the championship title. There’s something different about this season, the root of dissatisfaction surely doesn’t lie in the underwhelming performances, it has to do with a move from the franchise that seemed to have alienated a larger section of the fanbase. “Mumbai ka raja kaun, Rohit Sharma!” echoes the entire stadium every time Rohit comes on to bat, his diminishing batting returns not tainting the ardent devotion in the street. 

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There's a video of a reporter going around asking MI fans, after their loss against Rajasthan, and everyone who appeared in the video echoed the same sentiment, that the franchise committed a grave error by removing Rohit Sharma from the captaincy. Rohit gave them five IPL titles; Pandya gave three crushing defeats so far. There are not many genres of humans that can rival sports fans when it comes to short-term memory, nostalgia, and fluctuating emotions. Yet the treatment meted out to Hardik Pandya is something rarely seen in the fledgling history of the Indian Premier League. 


Pandya is unloved, not only by his current franchise but also by his ex-franchise. Imagine being a captain of a team whose fans don't even like you, and as you think you'll win them over slowly, you just see things falling apart faster. Pandya himself put up a bice show, also managing to shush the crowd for a while before falling away, but to shut them off permanently, he'll need to win games for Mumbai. 

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