"I told them to behave because…" – Sanjay Manjrekar launches fresh attack on Hardik Pandya’s critics after his T20 World Cup heroics

Hardik Pandya and Sanjay Manjrekar

In a notable turnaround, Hardik Pandya emerged as the hero of India’s triumphant campaign at the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, silencing his critics with stellar performances in all aspects of the big stage in the US and West Indies. .

During the IPL 2024 season, Pandya faced severe criticism and booing from fans when he was replaced by Rohit Sharma as the captain of the Mumbai Indians (MI) after leaving the Gujarat Titans (GT).

Online trolling and booing at IPL venues had a significant impact on Hardik, resulting in him not being able to perform as MI captain and all-rounder. It was the worst season for Hardik in his IPL career so far.

Sanjay Manjrekar praises Hardik Pandya’s remarkable turnaround in ICC T20 World Cup 2024

However, the Baroda star was talented enough to put his dark period behind him and chose the world stage to make a resounding comeback in the Indian jersey. Hardik was in impressive form with both bat and ball in the 2024 T20 World Cup and played an important role in India’s title triumph after 11 years.

After Team India’s unbeaten campaign ended their 17-year wait for the second T20 World Cup trophy, former Indian cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar hailed Pandya’s transformation and highlighted his key role in crucial matches at ICC events.

Pandya’s ability to perform under pressure was evident on many occasions, including the crucial wickets of Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller in the 2024 T20 World Cup final against South Africa in Barbados. His composed play in the last over gave the Men in Blue victory in the final, and the cricket expert praised his maturity and reliability in high-risk situations.

Manjrekar also praised Pandya’s batting prowess, recalling his crucial innings against England in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2022, where he played an impressive knock of 60 runs off just 33 balls. However, the Indian cricket team suffered a 10-wicket defeat to the England team in Adelaide.

After going through an emotional turmoil ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup, Pandya has shown great versatility, the ability to thrive under pressure and his ability to turn the tide of matches with his aggressive yet calculated approach once again shining in the West Indies.

No wonder seeing him shine on the big stage: Sanjay Manjrekar on Hardik Pandya

As fans celebrate India’s T20 World Cup triumph across the world, Pandya’s resurgence is a testament to his talent and tenacity, reaffirming his status as a match-winner for the national team.

The Indian all-rounder’s performances not only helped India win the trophy but also silenced his critics, and Manjrekar said he was not really surprised by Pandya’s remarkable performance in the tournament.

Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo: “I told them to behave because this is a top-class player. We have seen it on numerous occasions. Wickets of Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and right at the end, Kagiso Rabada. So, Hardik was the champion and it is not a surprise to see him flourish on the big stage.

Even in the semi-finals against England in Adelaide, he came in and gave India some hope with a remarkable knock of 60 runs off 33. So that’s what it’s all about. And you felt confident when he came in and bowled the last over. Because he wasn’t going to lose his nerve. He was going to bowl sensibly.”