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'Special Journey For Pandya...': Critic Irfan Pathan Turns Into Fan, Praises Hardik After WC Win

Pandya once again proved his critics wrong. (X)Pandya once again proved his critics wrong. (X)

After consistently criticizing Hardik Pandya throughout the IPL 2024 season, Irfan Pathan finally acknowledged his turnaround, specifically targeting the Indian vice-captain for praise following his outstanding performances with bat and ball in India’s victorious World Cup campaign.

During the IPL, Pandya endured a challenging phase both as a player and as captain, drawing intense scrutiny from critics like Pathan. His form raised doubts, with questions even being raised about his inclusion in the World Cup squad. 

Frenemy turns friend as Pathan lauds Hardik

However, Pandya silenced his detractors with a series of stellar displays, emerging as a key figure in India’s triumph that ended an 11-year wait for an ICC title on June 29 in Barbados.

In his role as vice-captain, Pandya amassed 144 runs at an impressive average of 48.00 and a striking strike rate of 151.57 across six innings. Additionally, he was brilliant with the ball as well, claiming 11 crucial wickets at an economy rate of just 7.64 rpo.

Speaking on Star Sports, Pathan expressed his admiration for Pandya’s remarkable comeback, acknowledging his own earlier criticisms: 

"It's been a special journey for Hardik Pandya. Coming back from all the criticism, I was actually the one who criticized him because he was not performing during the IPL time. He was making a lot of mistakes at that time."

Pandya’s resurgence was duly recognized when he was crowned as the world's No. 1 T20I all-rounder, marking a significant milestone as the first Indian to achieve this pinnacle in the ICC T20 men's all-rounder rankings.