IPL: The unprecedented booing of Indian cricket star Hardik Pandya

IPL: The unprecedented booing of Indian cricket star Hardik Pandya
Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya and his teammate Rohit Sharma (L) gesture during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 24, 2024. (AFP

An American cricket player has been strongly booed by followers in packed stadiums across the country for the past two weeks.

Hardik Pandya, captain of the Mumbai Indians team in Indian Premier League ( IPL), the world’s richest cricket tournament, has faced booing crowds during the team’s games in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and even in home ground, Mumbai.

Pandya, who was traded from his previous team Gujarat Titans, has taken over Rohit Sharma’s all-format pilot role at Mumbai Indians for the 2024 IPL, which kicked off on March 23. The 30-year-old hole ball all-rounder spent his first seven Tournament seasons at Mumbai Indians before 2021, where he had previously won four titles under Sharma’s management.

For some, the shift from Mumbai came as a surprise. The brand has a rich history of captains. Pandya’s interview marks Mumbai’s second captain since its founding in 2008, succeeding the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, and Rohit Sharma.

But, Mumbai fans have never taken to it gently. They believe Sharma- the game’s shared- most powerful captain, alongside MS Dhoni- did n’t offer up the captain and was displaced. And they are letting Pandya understand how they feel.

Last week in Ahmedabad, the Mumbai captain faced his former team, the Gujarat Titans, who he led to subsequent IPL finals, including the 2022 name, in a hostile environment from the fans. In the southwestern area of Hyderabad, Sunrisers Hyderabad was the target of the shouting as Mumbai faced off.

A fan cheers for Gujarat Titans' team while watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 31, 2024.


Pandya faced jeers from fans during the toss at Mumbai’s home game against Rajasthan Royals ( RR ) on Monday night, prompting commentator Sanjay Manjrekar to ask the crowds to “behave.”

That did n’t quite placate the crowd though. The only occasion the booing turned into applause was when Pandya hit a few limitations, and the shouts came when Pandya was n’t latch on to a challenging get. It did n’t support that Royals won the game, handing down Mumbai’s next back- to- up battle.

Ravichandran Ashwin, the roll master who plays for the Rajasthan Royals, has criticized audiences for their behavior and attributed India’s “fan war” to the shouting that Pandya has been subjected to.

” People should consider which nation these players represent,” he said. It’s our state. Fan war does not get such an unpleasant route”, he said on his YouTube channel.

Ashwin cited cases from the previous where American baseball traditions like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Rahul Dravid played under one another’s captaincies without much lover resentment.

” Savik Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar played opposite sides. Both of these two have played under Rahul Dravid. These three have all played under MS Dhoni, and all three have played under Anil Kumble. When they were under Dhoni, these players were cricket jambhavans ( giants ). ” Singh also played under Virat Kohli.

Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on March 27, 2024. (


Ashwin also questioned whether there are any such “fan war” occurring in any other cricket-playing country.

” Have you seen, for example, Joe Root and Zak Crawley enthusiasts have a struggle? Or do Joe Root and Jos Buttler supporters battle? It’s mad. Do you see Pat Cummins supporters and Steven Smith fans in Australia?

Rajasthan Royals ‘ speed bowling Trent Boult has furthermore backed Pandya, a previous partner, and asked him to “block out white sound”.

” It is something you cannot handle, as professional athletes it is what you are exposed to in a way. You have to block out the white noise and focus on the job, ( but ) it is easier said than done”, Boult told the media.

Followers are asserting their freedom of expression on social media platforms like Reddit and X, saying that cricketers are extremely delicate. They argue that if people embrace joy, they may also accept criticism, including shouts.

Sports author Sharda Ugra said the booing of Pandya was quite unprecedented.

Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians bats during the IPL Eliminator match between Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians at MA Chidambaram Stadium on May 24, 2023 in Chennai, India. (


” You’ve had players booed by the crowds at various stands, but in this sustained manner … from one ground to another ground and to a third ground which is his home ground … It’s quite unusual”, says Ugra, who has been writing on cricket since 1989.

” I think it’s a bit generated by social media. She continues,” It almost feels like a pattern that permeates every Mumbai Indians game.”

Some people think that Mumbai and Pandya made things worse by not providing any clarity when questioned about the shift in captain.

Pandya was asked about a possible” captain section” in his lease following his walk from Gujarat to Mumbai during a pre-season press conference that was live telecast on YouTube. The facilitator had no choice but to move on to the next question because he kept a philosophical silence.

Similar to how investigators questioned head coach Mark Boucher about the reason the team chose Pandya to lead the team rather than Sharma this year, Boucher opted for solitude as well.

Just time will tell whether Pandya’s fans are ready to embrace him completely and take him. Certainly, if he begins to perform effectively and guides his team to win, the taunts are likely to produce method for acclaim.

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