Hardik Pandya’s captaincy has certainly been impressive in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. Standing in his first leadership assignment in the competition, Hardik took Gujarat Titans to three successive wins before an eight-wicket defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday (April 11). While Hardik delivered with both bat and the ball in the game, he seemed to have lost his cool while defending a par total of 162 in Mumbai.
Hardik, who conceded just five runs in his first two overs, was taken to the cleaners by his SRH counterpart Kane Williamson in his third over. He hit the pacer for two consecutive sixes as the Orange Army gained command after a slow start. Notably, in the same over, Hardik had an opportunity to dismiss Williamson’s batting partner Rahul Tripathi.
Tripathi mistimed a pull shot off Hardik’s well-directed bouncer and the ball travelled to the third-man boundary, where Mohammed Shami was well placed. While the speedster had an opportunity to take the catch, he opted the safer route and remained backward to save the boundary. This didn’t go down well with the GT captain as he was seen yelling at the veteran fast bowler.
It was not Hardik Pandya’s captaincy but the lack of runs that cost GT: Graeme Swann
While a section of fans criticized Hardik’s captain, former England spinner Graeme Swann came out in his support and said a captain’s nerve can get fired in such an intense match. “I will tell you what we shouldn’t do though. We shouldn’t look at it and say all of a sudden Hardik is not a good captain. The fact that they did not score enough runs lost them the game, not Hardik Pandya’s captaincy,” said Swann on Star Sports.
“He shuffled his packs quite well but of course, your nerves get a bit fried as a skipper or a bowler (in tense situations). It was not Hardik’s captaincy but the lack of runs that cost them,” he added. Former Australia opener Mathew Hayden, who was a part of the same panel, also criticized Shami for not going for the catch.
“I reckon this was a really pivotal moment in the match, he was bowling at good speed. Mohammed Shami was on the boundary and he made no effort. In fact, he retreated back to the boundary I won’t say he avoided the catch necessarily.” said Hayden.
“He really needed to go harder inside the boundary. When you are not defending much, it’s about really working hard for your mates, and taking the effort catches and make the plays. Be it run-out or catches or just assists, in general, to stop a batter from scoring boundaries,” he added.