Kieron Pollard in post-match press conference© BCCI/Sportzpics

Mumbai Indians coach Kieron Pollard was once again made to defend the franchise’s skipper Hardik Pandya in the post-match press conference. MI suffered yet another defeat this season as Chennai Super Kings rode on MS Dhoni‘s late blitz and Matheesha Pathirana‘s clinical bowling to secure a 20-run win on Sunday. Hardik, who returned to bowling in the match, conceded 43 runs in 3 overs while scoring just 2 runs of 6 balls with the bat. His captaincy in the game also left much to be desired, drawing fans and pundits’ ire. But, Pollard continues to defence ‘hard working and confident’ guy, Hardik. (IPL 2024 Points Table)

In the press conference, Pollard went on an epic rant, highlighting how cricket remains a team game and it isn’t right to single out individual players, especially someone like Hardik who is working really hard behind the scenes to improve his game.

“I don’t know if it will affect his confidence. He is a confident guy; he has been great around the group. In cricket, you have good days and bad days and I am seeing an individual who is working bloody hard to improve his skills and plying his trade,” Pollard told media after the match.

Pollard didn’t mince his words as he admitted to be sick and tired of seeing people single out Hardik, a player who will represent the Indian national team in the T20 World Cup 2024 in 6 weeks’ time.

“I am sick and tired, fed up of [us] looking to pinpoint individuals; cricket is a team game at the end of the day. This is an individual that is going to represent the country in less than six weeks’ time, and all are going to cheer him and want him to do well. So high time we try to encourage and stop nitpicking and see if we can get the best out of one of the great all-rounders India has produced. He can bat, bowl and field, and has an X-factor about him,” the coach further said.

“I hope very well deep down within my heart that when he comes out on top, I’ll sit back and watch everyone sing his praises,” he added.

With their 4th loss in 6 matches, Mumbai Indians are placed 8th in the 10-team points table.

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