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Of tears and redemption: The Hardik Pandya story

Of tears and redemption The Hardik Pandya story

Hardik Pandya (Source :ICC/Getty)

Yes, men do vent out. They do shout, shriek, scream, and when it does not help at all, they let it all go. Social narratives are replete with instances of men going berserk, doing the impossible, unimaginable, or just getting lost in the oblivion. But tears? Nah! “Real men don’t cry,” goes the old yet vacuous adage. What story do the eyes of a man, who until recently was dubbed a fallen hero, brimmed with tears, tell while a billion people watch him?

A few months back, it seemed that fortune was snatching every minute chance from Hardik Pandya to redeem himself. This Indian all-rounder has an ostentatious swagger about him that people often mistake for the pretence of a cocky and overbearing showbiz persona. Though one glimpse at his record is enough to silence the detractors. But you can’t shut up detractors for long, can you? They raise their heads time and again, if not for your professional performance, they will dig into your personal life. As happened with Pandya.

Barring the recurring injuries, Hardik’s track record would place him in the league of clutch players delivering on big platforms. The homecoming of the ICC T20 World Cup trophy after 17 years was a vindication of the collective efforts of a team that would settle for nothing less than the coveted title.

During the whole tournament, Pandya was relied upon by the captain, Rohit Sharma. And, as one veteran commentator would say, Pandya delivered just what the doctor ordered. He struck well and hard, adding 144 runs at a strike rate of 151 in the six innings where he got to bat. He bowled his share of overs and picked up 11 wickets in the tournament. An exceptional all-round show, one is compelled to say. Pandya also bowled the last over of the final showdown.

Also read: ‘The last six months have been the toughest for Hardik’ – Krunal Pandya shares heartwarming note after brother shines at T20 World Cup

Before going into the World Cup, life hadn’t been all right for the star Indian all-rounder lately. He had left the IPL team Gujarat Titans to join Mumbai Indians, reportedly on his terms and conditions. If media reports are to be believed, he was paid a hefty amount coupled with his controversial condition of becoming the captain of the team. Rohit Sharma, a captain with five IPL trophies, was sacked rather unceremoniously, which led to a huge uproar, and Pandya, the newly made captain, was booed for most of the matches. The crowd was ruthless and unforgiving. The boy from Vadodara was humiliated, but he kept wearing a smile that did feel unabashed and unnecessary at times. But truth be told, he was abiding by the same old yet vacuous adage. He held himself together.

At times, it felt like hardcore spectators were not in for a cricket match but to deride Pandya. The constant humiliation dented his performance too. While wielding the bat, he had more misses than hits, and his balls were being lofted to every nook and cranny of the ground. There were constant outside noises too regarding his personal life that gelled with his dwindling performance graph.

Also read: Hardik Pandya: A Mentality Over Totality

People started to believe that the star Indian all-rounder had lost his sheen and couldn’t make it to the team selected for the T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean. However, the Indian cricket team selectors, coach, and captain had other plans, and Hardik was drafted into the team.

The tunes of life aren’t always harsh; sometimes, life lets you dance to a sweet melody too. The T20 World Cup was when life played a redemption song for him that concluded with the fallen hero dusting off the rust and rising high above from the hellfire of the bottomless pit. Isn’t it a lovely coincidence that Bob Marley also hailed from the Caribbean? I won’t take you through ball-by-ball details of what happened on that eventful date on June 29, for it is etched in our memories precisely as it happened. I would rather stress: let’s normalise men shedding tears. Hardik was resolute, for he held together until he had redeemed himself at the greatest level possible. Not all of us might be that fortunate; sometimes the burden of carrying it all within breaks us.

 – By

Avikal Narayan Shukla

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