We all forgot that he is also a human being with emotions: Krunal hails Hardik's World Cup heroics

Just a month after he was subjected to constant boos in the IPL, Hardik turned jeers into cheers, playing a pivotal role in ending India’s 11-year ICC title drought.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 17:14 IST

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Mumbai: Spin-allrounder Krunal Pandya on Friday hailed Hardik's remarkable comeback during India's T20 World Cup triumph, saying amid the storm of criticism people seemed to forget that his younger brother is just a "human being with emotions".

Just a month after he was subjected to constant boos in the IPL, Hardik turned jeers into cheers, playing a pivotal role in ending India’s 11-year ICC title drought.

India staged a dramatic comeback to pip South Africa by seven runs in the T20 World Cup final in Bridgetown last Saturday, their first global title since 2013 Champions Trophy.

"It’s almost been a decade since Hardik and I started playing professional cricket. And the last few days have been like a fairy tale that we’ve dreamt off," Krunal wrote in a long emotional post in his Instagram handle.

"Like every countryman I've lived this through our teams' heroics and I couldn’t be more emotional with my brother being at the heart of it." Krunal highlighted Hardik's struggles over the past year, including the consistent boos and jeers he faced at the Wankhede Stadium during the IPL 2024 season after his surprising move back to the Mumbai Indians.

This move came after he spent two years as captain of the Gujarat Titans and returned to replace Rohit Sharma as MI skipper.

He also struggled to get going and under his captaincy, the five-time IPL champions finished at the bottom, only for the second time in 17 editions.

"The last six months have been the toughest for Hardik. He simply didn’t deserve what he went through, and as a brother, I felt very, very bad for him.

"From booing, to people saying all kinds of nasty things, at the end of the day, we all forgot that he is just a human being who also has emotions," Krunal added.

An injury had cut short Hardik’s ODI World Cup campaign in November 2023, and his underwhelming return during the IPL only added to his woes.

Despite his struggles, Hardik proved decisive during the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, especially in crucial moments for Team India, including the final.

"He somehow passed through all of this with a smile, though I know how hard it was for him to put on a smile. He kept working hard and focusing on what he needed to do to get the World Cup since that was his ultimate objective.

"He has now played his heart out to realise India’s long standing dream - And nothing has ever meant to him more. From the age of 6 - It’s playing for the country and winning the World Cup that’s been the dream.

In the final, Hardik took the game-changing wicket of Heinrich Klaasen and dismissed David Miller in the last over, defending 16 runs to secure a seven-run victory over South Africa in Bridgetown.

He amassed 144 runs at a strike rate of 151.57 in six innings and picked up 11 wickets throughout the tournament.

"I just want to remind people that what Hardik has done in such a short span in his career is unbelievable. His efforts for the national team have never been compromised. Every time, at every stage of Hardik’s life, people have written him off, and that has only motivated him to come back even stronger.

"For Hardik, it has always been country first, and it will always be that way. For a young boy coming from Baroda, there can be no bigger achievement than helping his team win the World Cup.

"Hardik, I am so, so proud of you. I love you so much, and you deserve every bit of happiness and all the good things that are coming your way.

"I have immense respect for you, my bachhu," Krual signed off.

Published 05 July 2024, 17:14 IST

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