Aakash Chopra has come forward in support of Hardik Pandya after the Indian captain faced backlash for preventing Tilak Varma from achieving a fifty in the 3rd T20I victory over West Indies.
Hardik, leading the Indian team in the T20I series against the West Indies, received criticism from fans for hitting a six on the final ball of the 3rd T20I match, thus preventing Tilak Varma from reaching his half-century milestone.
The incident unfolded during India’s pursuit of a 160-run target. Although Varma needed only one run to reach his fifty, Pandya opted to secure the win with a six, leaving Tilak stranded at 49 runs.
Fans labeled this move as “selfish” and voiced their disapproval on social media platforms. Nonetheless, some defended Pandya’s decision, reasoning that prioritizing the team’s victory over individual accomplishments was a sensible approach.
Aakash Chopra is the latest figure to lend his support to Pandya, asserting that the all-rounder need not emulate his idol Dhoni in such situations. Unlike Dhoni, who often rotated the strike to allow his partners to complete the game or attain milestones, Chopra emphasized that Pandya should remain true to his own style.
Speaking on his YouTube channel ahead of the 4th T20I, Chopra stated, “Hardik Pandya has faced considerable trolling and criticism. While one perspective questions the emphasis on personal milestones, there’s another perspective that advocates for them. So he finds himself in the midst of ongoing discussions.”
Chopra recalled an instance involving MS Dhoni defending a ball to enable Virat Kohli, stationed at the opposite end, to finish the match. However, he emphasized that Pandya need not mirror Dhoni’s actions, even if he considers Dhoni his role model.
“Hardik does not need to replicate Dhoni’s approach. He doesn’t have to transform into another Dhoni, even if he regards him as his inspiration,” Chopra conveyed.
In summary, Aakash Chopra defended Hardik Pandya’s decision in the 3rd T20I match and advised him to remain authentic to his own playing style rather than imitating Dhoni’s approach, in light of the criticism he received for preventing Tilak Varma from reaching his fifty.