IPL 2024: Dubai-based life coach on how Hardik Pandya can deal with criticism

Hardik Pandya, who replaced fan favourite Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain, has faced a barrage of boos in every match


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya. — IPL
Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya. — IPL

Published: Fri 5 Apr 2024, 12:52 AM

The fickle nature of the sports fan can take a toll on even the greatest athletes of all time.

Remember how an emotional Lionel Messi announced retirement from international football in 2017 after being heavily criticised for losing his third straight major final with Argentina?

It’s not easy to be Hardik Pandya in the world of cricket now where he faces a barrage of boos every time he plays for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

His fault: he asked for the Mumbai Indians leadership position, a wish that was fulfilled by the team management which stripped Rohit Sharma, the team’s iconic leader who led the team to five IPL titles, of captaincy.

Pandya is now in the eye of the storm as the Mumbai Indians lost all three of their matches so far.

So how does an elite athlete like Pandya deal with fans who have turned on him?

“Every challenging situation provides the players to build even greater resilience and maintain the focus on what they can control, which is their mindset,” said Girish Hemnani, a Dubai-based life coach and energy healer, told the Khaleej Times.

Girish Hemnani
Girish Hemnani

“Fans at times can get too carried away with their emotions and are not able to process their disappointments in a healthy or acceptable way. It's vital to remember that while fans' emotions can sometimes lead to unrealistic expectations, it's their passion and dedication that also fuel the spirit of the sport.

“Even though adults are responsible for managing their own disappointments but can have trouble when they get carried away by the collective negative emotions and start to project unrealistic and unfair expectations on players, especially when they are in leadership positions.”

The support of teammates and family could be key when a player goes through such a challenging phase.

“Players showing up despite the challenges doesn't mean they move on quickly, rather they rely on their strong support system, including family, friends, coaches, and teammates, who provide emotional support and perspective during times of intense criticism," Hemnani said.

There have already been reports of discontent in the Mumbai Indians dressing room following their poor start to the campaign with some players apparently not happy with how the captaincy was taken away from Rohit, who is also India’s all-format captain.

It's a critical phase for Indian cricket because Pandya is also an important player for the national team under Rohit’s captaincy.

"Situations like these need great maturity to navigate as personal relationships are at stake too,” said Hemnani.

“These are the moments where personal gain needs to be kept in check and focus on collective gain as a team. While positions come and go, it's the relationship and how it is prioritized. This is what turns leaders into legends."


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