‘I criticised him…’ – Irfan Pathan feels humiliated as Hardik Pandya puts critic in his place with his T20 WC heroics

Irfan Pathan and Hardik Pandya

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has heaped praise on vice-captain Hardik Pandya for his sensational performance in the 2024 T20 World Cup. He admitted that he was very critical of the Mumbai Indians captain during the IPL but it was a special journey for him to lift the title.

Hardik Pandya was the MVP of Team India at the 2024 T20 World Cup. The all-rounder was one of the key reasons why the Rohit Sharma-led side ended their 11-year title drought and wrote history at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Hardik Pandya’s transformation from being booed in the IPL to receiving the loudest cheers in an Indian jersey was sensational. He came up in a big moment for his team in the 2024 T20 World Cup as he played equally well with the bat and ball and helped the team to a famous title win.

Hardik Pandya had a huge impact in India’s title win as he contributed to the team in every match he played. He also defended 16 runs in the last over of the final to help the team win. The all-rounder scored 144 runs at an average of 48.00 and a strike rate of 151.57 in six innings and was even more exceptional with the ball. He picked up 11 wickets in 25 overs at an economy rate of 7.64.

Irfan Pathan hailed Hardik Pandya’s comeback and said the all-rounder showed a lot of character and made a big difference for the Indian team in the 2024 T20 World Cup. Speaking on Star Sports, he explained:

“It’s been a special journey for Hardik Pandya. After all the criticism, I was the one who criticised him because he was not performing during the IPL. He was making a lot of mistakes at that time.”

“From then until he came back and won the World Cup, everything has been special. He showed his character and his performance. With Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, the kind of performance he put in to make a difference in the Indian cricket team has been very special.”

The journey is very similar to Hardik’s: Irfan Pathan relates his career to that of the Indian vice-captain

Irfan Pathan related his experience to that of Hardik Pandya and recalled the tough times he faced in 2007. He stressed that the Indian vice-captain has also been through a lot and it is a special journey for him. He added:

“When I look at his journey to this World Cup, it reminds me of my own journey because I remember being left out of the squad before the 2007 T20 World Cup. I was playing for India A in Zimbabwe and Kenya. I was actually going through a tough situation where I really struggled physically and with hard work.”

“I remember going to the MRF Pace Foundation and working in silence and that journey is very similar to Hardik’s because he went through a lot in terms of performance, criticism and booing. It has been a special journey that I will remember for a lifetime,” he concluded.