Ravi Ashwin comes out in support of Hardik Pandya, slams boo-boys

Hardik Pandya for the Mumbai Indians. Source (X)

Two defeats in two matches for Mumbai Indians and their captain Hardik Pandya is in the line of fire. Pandya was booed in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad ostensibly for the reason that he took over MI captaincy from Rohit Sharma. It’s a case of fan wars turning “very ugly” and veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has called for an end to it.

During a show on his YouTube channel, Ashwin has come out in support of Pandya, calling out the fans who have been venomously targeting the MI captain. The five-time IPL champions bagged Pandya in a Rs 15-crore transfer before this year’s IPL and handed him the captaincy, stripping Rohit of the role. Ashwin asked the fans if they have ever seen such things happening 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?” Ashwin asked.

He added: “I have 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.”

Ashwin urged the fans not to follow the ugly route. “Fan wars should never go this ugly a route. One should remember which country these players represent; our country. So then what warrants a cricketer getting booed?”

The great off-spinner cited examples from the past, about Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid playing under each other’s captaincy and then all of them playing under MS Dhoni’s leadership.

“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 (Kohli),” said Ashwin.

He went on: “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-worship 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 would love to see disappear from the face of the earth in our country.”

When a netizen asked Ashwin whether it was time for MI to issue a statement and acknowledge that the management made a poor transfer, Ashwin replied: “Neither has any role to play. Neither the franchise nor the player has a role to play in this at all. I think the responsibility and the onus lies on the fans.”

RevSportz earlier reported how MI kept Rohit in the loop as they made a change of guard. It is learnt that the team management is a little upset with Pandya facing abuse from the fans. An insider told RevSportz: “We don’t have any problems with boos. We have problems when a cricketer is targeted by so-called fans with casteist slurs.”

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