Netizens mocked Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Hardik Pandya after his disastrous run continued in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with the 30-year-old all-rounder producing yet another below-par performance against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Mohali on Thursday.


Hardik Pandya once again failed to impress with the bat as he lost his wicket for 10 off 6 deliveries when his team needed to accelerate to get past a score of 200 though he had a decent outing with the ball, having returned with figures of 1/33 in his four overs.


Former cricketers have not only raised questions about Hardik Pandya's captaincy but his poor batting and bowling have put extra pressure on him.


Hardik Pandya's overall figures in the IPL 2024 don't look impressive at all – he's managed to score only 141 runs at a mediocre average of 23.50 with the highest score of 39 in the seven matches he's played in the tournament so far.


In the bowling department, the Gujarat-born all-rounder has hardly bowled and when he has taken up the ball, he has gone for plenty of runs.


He has picked just four wickets in seven games but what would be worrying the Mumbai Indians management is his economy rate. In the 15 overs, Hardik Pandya has bowled, he has been virtually clobbered by opposition batters, allowing them to cherry-pick him for sixes and boundaries. The result is that he has given away runs at 11 per over.


Earlier this week, Hardik Pandya came up with a pathetic performance with the ball against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).


Hardik Pandya's below-par bowling, particularly against MS Dhoni during the concluding stages of their innings was even slammed by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar.


Interestingly, Hardik Pandya bowled the final over of CSK's innings to his mentor and ex-India captain MS Dhoni, who belted him for three consecutive sixes. Eventually, MS Dhoni's maximums proved to be the difference between the two sides, as CSK won the game by 20 runs.


“Probably the worst kind of bowling that I've seen for a long, long time. It almost looks like I've had this embrace with my hero. I've got a bowling kind of deliveries that he's gonna hit for sixes. One 6 is fine. The next one again a length ball when you know that this batter is looking for a length ball to hit. The third ball again, a full toss on the leg side and he's looking for it and hits it for a 6. Absolutely ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Star Sports.


On the other hand, several social media users labeled him “Chapri (a person with no sense of responsibility)”.


Meanwhile, former England captain Kevin Pietersen blamed the fans for Hardik Pandya's poor display in the IPL. He observed that his mistreatment by the public coming to watch MI's matches – the boos, jeering and the negative social media chatter was hurting him mentally.

“It's clearly affecting Hardik. I've seen how crazy it's gone all over social media. And having been right in the mix of this 10 years ago when I left the England team and all the nonsense that was happening there, being booed at home, being a villain in the streets, going into restaurants and people look at you funny, this affects you away from the game of cricket,” Kevin Pietersen told the broadcasters.


“It's not just affects you, it affects your family. And that's the fear for what's happening for me with Hardik at the moment is that this is going to hurt him for a very, very long time. When he finishes his Indian career, when he finishes playing cricket, it's still going to hurt him and that's why something drastic has to be done,” he added.


“Something drastic has to be done because this guy is an Indian cricketer and in a month's time you wanna win a World Cup for India. Are the same people who are booing him now going to boo him when he plays against Pakistan in New York on the ninth or the 10th of June. I don't think so. So it needs to stop and something needs to happen. Something drastic needs to happen because I don't like seeing another cricket are going through something that I actually went through,” Kevin Pietersen opined. 

Nonetheless, the one good thing that happened to Hardik Pandya on Thursday was that his team won the last-over thriller with Gerald Coetzee picking up the wicket of the dangerous Ashutosh Singh in the 18th over to end the home team's hopes of beating Mumbai Indians. 


At the end of the day, the former five-time champions earned the crucial two points to record their third win in seven matches in IPL 2024.