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Ashwin on fans booing Hardik Pandya: Fan wars are taking an ugly turn, live sport not cinema

Veteran India and Rajasthan Royals cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, on Friday, came out in support of his India teammate and Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya after the latter has been the target of vicious trolling during the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.

During a live stream on his YouTube channel with cricket analyst Prasanna Agoram, Ashwin called for an end to fan wars which he said were “turning very ugly.” A user had asked the pair if it was time for the Mumbai Indians management to step in and issue a statement as “it was really (the) management’s poor transfer!”

“Neither has any role to play. Neither the franchise not the player has a role to play in this at all. I think the responsibility and the onus lies on the fans,” Ashwin said.

Mumbai Indians has had a poor start to the 2024 season, losing both games so far – against Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Hardik was jeered relentlessly by the Ahmedabad crowd during the fixture against the Titans, the franchise he left to join Mumbai Indians.

File | Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya

File | Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya
| Photo Credit:
AP

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File | Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya
| Photo Credit:
AP

“They (Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya) are Indian team legends. Have you seen this happen in any other country? Have you seen Joe Root and Zak Crawley fans fight? Or have you seen Joe Root and Jos Buttler fans fight? It’s crazy. Have you seen Steve Smith and Pat Cummins fans fight in Australia? I’ve said this many times. This is cricket. This is a cinema culture. I know there are things like marketing, positioning and branding. I don’t deny it. I don’t believe in all this on my side but it’s not wrong to indulge either. Fan wars should never go in this ugly a route. One should remember which country these players represent- our country. So then what warrants a cricketer getting booed?” Ashwin added.

“I don’t understand. If you don’t like a player and boo a player, why should a team come out to issue a clarification? We act like this has not happened before. (Sourav) Ganguly played under Sachin (Tendulkar) and vice versa. These two have both played under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy. These three have played under Anil Kumble and all of them have played under Dhoni. When they were under Dhoni, these players were cricket jambhavans (giants). Dhoni too played under Virat,” he said.

“We need to get our act together. You know what the problem is? We are all happy to sit in our houses, look outside and someone else to pick up the trash. We don’t want to bother doing it ourselves. We should correct ourselves first. This is real time sports. Real times sports have real time emotions. How we go beyond that, counter it and find balance to play cricket is what this is all about. A real sport can never be compared to cinema. Heroes and hero worships are great. I am all for it. Enjoy what you like about your favourites but not at the cost of putting another player down. This is one thing I’d love to see disappear from the face of the earth in our country,” Ashwin added.

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