Hardik Pandya Urged to 'Block Out' Boos and Abuse, Seek Support from Rohit Sharma

Hardik Pandya Urged to ‘Block Out’ Boos and Abuse, Seek Support from Rohit Sharma

Steven Smith, who faced relentless heckling after the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, has advised Hardik Pandya to “block out” the boos and abuse he has received from fans during the ongoing IPL. Smith believes that Hardik needs support from his Mumbai Indians teammates, especially Rohit Sharma, who he replaced as captain.

Smith, who was banned for a year after admitting to “leadership failure” in the Newlands Test, said he treated the heckling he experienced as “white noise.” He suggested that Hardik might be surprised by the reception because it is not often that India’s top players are booed by fans.

However, Smith acknowledged that the abuse from fans, coupled with criticism of his captaincy, could impact Hardik adversely. He pointed out that Hardik has not experienced such a reception before, especially as a star Indian player.

Smith also expressed concern about Hardik’s tactical decisions in Mumbai Indians’ back-to-back losses. He believes Hardik erred by batting himself too low in the first game and by not bowling Jasprit Bumrah enough in the second game.

Smith suggested that Rohit Sharma could play a role in supporting Hardik, similar to how Virat Kohli defended Smith during the 2019 World Cup. He said that Rohit could stand up and ask fans to support Hardik, which could help him overcome the current challenges.