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Hardik Pandya denies Tilak Varma half-century

Hardik Pandya

“You must remain there and complete the game. It matters to continue to be present. These exchanges between Hardik Pandya and Tilak Varma were recorded by the stump microphone as India approached a crucial match against the West Indies. Tilak was batting on 44 when India needed 12 off of 23 to end the match. Tilak was already proving to be India’s find of 2023 with scores of 39 and 51 in the previous games. Since he had already hit four fours and a six, Tilak appeared to be on track to end the game with a second maximum after receiving the go-ahead from his captain.

But everything was suddenly altered. After Alzarri Joseph rushed Tilak and prevented the batsman from getting beneath the ball with his quickness, Hardik took no prisoners and smacked a powerful six of his own over long off to give India the victory. Even though Tilak was stuck on 49, India’s victory was more important in the long run; but, for the next 24 hours, it didn’t matter. After the triumph was assured, the entire nation turned against Hardik. Twitter erupted over the ridiculous decision to prevent Tilak from scoring what would have been his second consecutive fifty for India.

During the infamous Multan Test in 2004, Rahul Dravid declared India’s innings with Sachin Tendulkar batting on 194; The Wall had allocated The Master Blaster a specific number of overs to accomplish his double century. However, as the time ran out and Sachin failed to get the final six runs in the allotted amount of time, Dravid found himself losing popularity. In a similar spirit, India still had 23 balls available when Hardik pushed Tilak to smash it out of the park.

During the infamous Multan Test in 2004, Rahul Dravid declared India’s innings with Sachin Tendulkar batting on 194; The Wall had allocated The Master Blaster a specific number of overs to accomplish his double century. However, as the time ran out and Sachin failed to get the final six runs in the allotted amount of time, Dravid found himself losing popularity. In a similar spirit, India still had 23 balls available when Hardik pushed Tilak to smash it out of the park.

However, over the course of the next six deliveries, Tilak’s pace slowed, necessitating a change in tactics. The first ball of the over was ruled wide; it was a short ball that was just outside leg that Tilak attempted to connect on but was unable. Then Alzarri used a variety of slower pitches, yorkers, half-volleys, and length balls, but Tilak could only generate singles, dots, and a single double. Tilak nearly chopped one back on because his timing had become erratic. Hardik, who had provided Tilak with the buffer, then waded into Rovman Powell to push India over the finish line when the glory shot was nowhere to be seen.

There is a big difference between facing a bowler who is bowling with intention and one who is just going through the motions. Rovman Powell and his West Indies team noticed that their minds were already wandering to Lauderhill, Florida, where the final two chapters of this tour would be written, with two runs to defend off 14. Powell realized that the game was going to end inevitably and that with seven wickets left, even a miracle wouldn’t be sufficient. What was the West Indies captain’s response, then? He launched a long hop down Hardik’s striking zone that was gradual and soft. While the skipper could have chosen to leave or cautiously defend the ball in response to Pandya’s eyes lighting up, the need to thwart that powerful full swing of the bat proved to be too strong for him to resist.

When Sourav Ganguly was batting on 98 and India needed four runs to win in Kandy in a 2001 Test match between India and Sri Lanka, the memory sprang to mind. When his captain was struggling with his form at the time, Mohammad Kaif did everything he could to make sure he scored the winning runs and reached his century. But Kaif found it difficult to resist returning Dilhara Fernando’s leg-stump full toss. No words were spoken. Ganguly was, if anything, the happiest.

Hardik is not MS Dhoni

An old video of MS Dhoni blocking a ball from South Africa’s Beuran Hendricks so that Virat Kohli could score the winning runs surfaced as part of the Hardik bashing movement. Not to draw attention to it negatively, but if there were ever any aspirations that Hardik would take a page from Dhoni’s playbook from the 2014 World T20, those people alone have full responsibility, not Pandya. Hardik cannot and will not attempt to imitate Dhoni in any way. Pandya will be able to carve out his own route because to his unique captaincy qualities. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that Hardik would even pick the current T20I squad, and make no mistake—this group of players won’t definitely be returning to the West Indies in 10 months for the World Cup.

Hardik becoming a captain is a new development. Not quite two years have passed since he last oversaw a top-tier squad. Despite comparisons to the legendary Dhoni being made, Hardik is far different from MSD in terms of stature, even though the IPL victory with the Gujarat Titans was the stuff of a fairytale. Although nostalgia has its appeal, the Dhoni era and the distinctive character it possessed have long since passed. Please continue on with your work.

Milestones as frivolous as a T20I fifty should be the last thing on a player’s mind

All in favor. All for one. Cricket has always been played in that spirit, and it should continue to be. It is important to understand that Tilak’s outstanding innings had an impact even without reaching a half-century in a country that is unduly obsessed with statistics. When India was two down for 34, he arrived, added 87 with Suryakumar Yadav, and completed his task. Tilak India’s standout hitter in the two games they had previously lost, and the future looks even more promising for him. Cricketing giants like England and Australia have totally adopted the strategy of prioritizing team achievements over individual milestones, and the result of this transition is clear in their joint ownership of the last three World Cup championships. It might not be the worst idea to explore adopting this approach for a team that hasn’t won an ICC trophy in the recent ten years.

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