Updated March 30th, 2024 at 13:35 IST

Ashwin speaks out on Hardik hate campaign: 'Sachin played under MS. Dhoni too played for Virat'

R Ashwin addresses the widespread criticism targeting Hardik Pandya, offering his perspective on the ongoing controversy and expressing his thoughts.

Reported by: Aryan Suraj Chadha
Hardik Pandya and R Ashwin | Image:BCCI, YouTube/R Ashwin

Online taunting has been directed at Hardik Pandya, the Mumbai Indians captain, ever since he took over for Rohit Sharma. The pressure increased after MI lost their first two IPL 2024 games and is yet to win in the competition. Pandya is receiving a lot of backlash on social media, which makes it harder for him to guide the club through this difficult season opener.

Also Read: 'Tailender Sunil Narine playing better than Virat Kohli': Virat SLAMMED


R Ashwin supports MI captain Hardik Pandya amidst internet harassment

In the wake of the unrelenting abuse Hardik Pandya has endured since taking over as Mumbai Indians captain from Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin has come up to offer his support. Pandya has faced harsh abuse from supporters in the previous two games, especially from his old team, the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad, and Sunrisers in Hyderabad.


On his YouTube channel, Ashwin addressed the matter and defended Pandya after a viewer expressed worry that the Mumbai Indians would later regret replacing him. Speaking in support of Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin said: 

“Neither has any role to play. Neither the franchise not the player has a role to play in this at all. I think the responsibility and the onus lies on the fans.”

Following his trade from the Gujarat Titans to the Mumbai Indians, Hardik Pandya was subjected to a great deal of jeering during his team's first Ahmedabad game. The anger seems to originate from a sense of betrayal among supporters of Gujarat. Pandya was subjected to incessant taunts from the spectators even after the following game against SRH in Hyderabad.

All eyes will be on Wankhede Stadium on Monday as Pandya gets ready for his debut game at home to see if he is welcomed as he was in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. R Ashwin highlighted that usually such type of incidents don’t happen in other countries: 


“Have you seen this happen in any other country? Have you seen Joe Root and Zak Crawley fans fight? Or have you seen Joe Root and Jos Buttler fans fight? It’s crazy. Have you seen Steve Smith and Pat Cummins fans fight in Australia?”

“I’ve said this many times. This is cricket. This is a cinema culture. I know there are things like marketing, positioning and branding. I don’t deny it. I don’t believe in all this on my side but it’s not wrong to indulge either,” he said.

“Fan wars should never go in this ugly a route. One should remember which country these players represent- our country. So then what warrants a cricketer getting booed? “I don’t understand. If you don’t like a player and boo a player, why should a team come out to issue a clarification? We act like this has not happened before,” 

“Sourav Ganguly played under Sachin Tendulkar and vice versa. These two have both played under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy. These three have played under Anil Kumble and all of them have played under Dhoni. When they were under Dhoni, these players were cricket jambhavans (giants). Dhoni too played under Virat,” he said.

“We need to get our act together. You know what the problem is? We are all happy to sit in our houses, look outside and someone else to pick up the trash. We don’t want to bother doing it ourselves. We should correct ourselves first.

“This is real time sports. Real times sports have real time emotions. How we go beyond that, counter it and find balance to play cricket is what this is all about. A real sport can never be compared to cinema. Heroes and hero worships are great.

“I am all for it. Enjoy what you like about your favourites but not at the cost of putting another player down. This is one thing I’d love to see disappear from the face of the earth in our country,”

Also Read: Struggling MI captain Hardik Pandya receives support from Sonu Sood

Both R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya will be seen playing against each other when Mumbai Indians host Rajasthan Royals on Monday, April 1, 2024 at the Wankhede Stadium. 


Published March 30th, 2024 at 13:08 IST