Hardik Pandya has been an average cricketer for India and, going by his achievements so far, the cricketer from Gujarat doesn’t appear to possess the required talent to attain stardom even in the future. But the cricketer has routinely managed to keep himself in the media limelight due to his flambouyant lifestyle, misogynistic comments, bragging about sexual escapades and insulting seniors, more successful than him in the game of cricket.
The cricketer, now the skipper of Gujarat Titans in the IPL, has once again found himself at the centre of a raging controversy after he was accused of abusing Mohammad Shami during an IPL match between Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.
Shami, who’s become a mainstay of the Indian pace attack, was fielding at the third man boundary when Rahul Tripathi hit Pandya. Pandya felt that his teammate did not try enough to catch the ball and launched a tirade against Shami, who’s his senior Team India colleague.
The video of Pandya losing cool at his senior teammate left cricket fans seething. The general consensus was that Pandya did not deserve to be a captain with many declaring him a ‘classless’ person.
Shami has taken 214 wickets in 59 Tests, 148 wickets in 78 ODI and 18 wickets in 17 T20I for India. The cricketer from Uttar Pradesh has also scalped 85 wickets in 81 IPL matches.
But, Shami is not the only cricketer that Pandya has chosen to insult in the past. In Gujarat Titans’ match against Punjab Kings, Pandya ran himself out in the final over. Even though he was equally responsible for attempting to take the run, he decided to vent his frustration on teammate David Miller, who was batting at the other end.
This did not go do well with fans including those supporting Gujarat Titans as they advised Pandya to learn manners while on the field.
Koffee With Karan and BCCI ban
In 2019, Pandya had to face a ban by the Indian cricket board, BCCI, for making sexist and misogynistic comments while bragging about his sexual escapades on Koffee With Karan show hosted by Karan Johar. The BCCI had put his selection in the team on hold pending an inquiry. Pandya’s comments on the said TV show had caused considerable anger amongst women’s rights activists and general social media users.
Faced with growing outrage, Pandya had taken to social media to issue an apology. He had said, “After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way. Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect.”
While appearing on Koffee With Karan on 6 January, Pandya had narrated an incident when he bragged to his parents about losing his virginity. He had said, “Aaj mai kar ke aaya (Today, I’ve done that).” This wasn’t the only cringe-worthy comment that Pandya made about his sexual encounters on the show.
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He told Karan Johar, “At a party, my parents asked me, ‘Which women are yours? I said, ‘This, this, and this one’,” Talking about his parents’ reaction, Pandya had said, “And they were like, ‘Wah, proud of you beta‘.”
On the show, Pandya had also boasted about getting intimate with multiple women. In response to a question on why he doesn’t ask for the names of women at nightclubs since he has trouble remembering them, he had said, “I like to watch and observe how they (women) move. I’m little from the black side so I need to see how they move.”
Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle had urged the BCCI to sensitise young cricketers about ‘life beyond the dressing room.’ Bhogle’s tweet had read, “It is all very well to issue show-cause notices now to KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. But I do wish the BCCI spends time in sensitising these young players to life beyond the dressing room; to getting them outside the bubble that is inevitable given the adulation they get.”
Insulted Zaheer Khan
In 2019, Pandya was called ‘badtameez (ill-mannered)’ by cricket fans after he appeared to insult Zaheer Khan with his birthday greetings. Pandya was accused of being disrespectful to one of the greatest fast-bowlers India has produced.
While wishing Zaheer on his birthday, Hardik had shared a video clip of a match, where he was seen hitting the former India bowler for a six. He had written, “Happy birthday Zak … Hope you smash it out of the park like I did here.”
Not to take Pandya’s insults lying down, Zaheer had replied, “Hahahaha….thank you for the wishes @hardikpandya7 my batting skills can never be as good as yours but the birthday was as good as the next delivery you faced from me in this match.”
Cricket is watched by over a billion people in India and cricketers are considered to be huge role models for youngsters. Pandya’s short journey as an international cricketer has shown that he lacks the maturity and class to be the role model for millions of cricket fans in India and abroad.