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“Show respect,” Sanjay Manjrekar urges, as Wankhede crowd jeers at MI captain Hardik Pandya.

"Show respect," Sanjay Manjrekar urges, as Wankhede crowd jeers at MI captain Hardik Pandya.
Sanjay Manjrekar and Hardik Pandya.

Sanjay Manjrekar and Hardik Pandya, Mumbai Indians’ fans to extend their respect to captain Hardik Pandya amid persistent booing. Despite the backing from teammates and the cricketing community, the adverse reactions persisted at Wankhede Stadium. Taking the reins from Rohit Sharma, Pandya has been under fire due to the team’s disappointing start in the IPL 2024. In a recent match, the Rajasthan Royals opted to field first after winning the toss, while the Mumbai Indians decided to stick with the same lineup as their previous game.

Ex-India cricketer and now commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar, appealed to the Wankhede Stadium audience for decorum when fans jeered Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya during the coin toss before the match against Rajasthan Royals in the 2024 Indian Premier League season on Monday.

Following a negative reception from fans in Hyderabad, the MI captain faced a similar unwelcoming atmosphere at the Wankhede Stadium, where the trend of booing the all-rounder persisted among the home crowd.

Sanjay Manjrekar

During the coin toss, as Manjrekar introduced the captains of both teams, he urged the crowd to “behave,” in response to their booing of the newly appointed MI captain for the third straight game.

“With the two captains with me, Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya, let’s have a big round of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Please, let’s show some respect and behave!” exclaimed Manjrekar in a video that was posted by the IPL on the platform X. This event marked a significant moment as Hardik Pandya took over the leadership role of the Mumbai Indians, succeeding Rohit Sharma.

After his stint with the Gujarat Titans (GT) where he served as the captain for two seasons, Hardik returned to his original franchise, the Mumbai Indians (MI), stepping into the shoes of a seasoned leader. Since assuming the role of MI skipper, Hardik has encountered mixed reactions from the audience. While many have welcomed his leadership, a section of fans has not shied away from expressing their dissent, often greeting him with jeers and boos during matches.

Moreover, Hardik’s new role and performance have attracted considerable attention and scrutiny from former India players, sparking debates and discussions about his capabilities and leadership style within the cricket community.

Sanjay Manjrekar

Compounding his difficulties, the five-time IPL champions experienced the worst possible beginning this season, suffering a defeat in their opening match against GT and also facing a loss in their second match to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

During the pre-season press conference, both Hardik and head coach Mark Boucher were bombarded with inquiries about the shift in captaincy. Hardik, in his responses, opted not to tackle the questions head-on, sparking significant backlash on social media.

Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) captain, Sanju Samson, won the toss and chose to field against MI. At the toss, Samson explained, “We’ve decided to bowl first. The pitch appears fresh, especially since it’s the season’s first game at the Wankhede stadium, and we anticipate it will favor the fast bowlers. We aim to continue our effective strategies. Unfortunately, Sandeep won’t be playing as he is unfit, so Burger will be taking his place.”

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya said his side is hoping to play the brand of cricket everyone enjoy ..

“We had initially planned to bowl first. It’s truly exhilarating to participate in this game. We are always focused on the future, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the process. We aim to play a style of cricket that is enjoyable for everyone. We will be fielding the same team,” he explained.

The Rajasthan Royals’ lineup features: Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler as openers, followed by captain and wicketkeeper Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, and Shimron Hetmyer strengthening the middle order. Their bowling attack is led by Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nandre Burger, and Yuzvendra Chahal, forming a balanced and formidable playing XI.

Mumbai Indians (Starting Lineup): Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Naman Dhir, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya (captain), Tim David, Gerald Coetzee, Piyush Chawla, Akash Madhwal, Jasprit Bumrah, and Kwena Maphaka.

Rajasthan Royals Subs: Rovman Powell, Tanush Kotian, Kuldeep Sen, Shubham Dubey and Abid Mushtaq. Mumbai Indians Subs: Dewald Brevis, Nuwan Thushara, Romario Shepherd, Nehal Wadhera and Shams Mulani.

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