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'MI always has that X-factor'

Source: PTI
April 17, 2024 21:18 IST
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MI have won only two matches of the six played so far this season

IMAGE: MI have won only two matches of the six played so far this season. Photograph: BCCI

With Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya continuing to receive hostile treatment from fans in the ongoing Indian Premier League, his teammate Shreyas Gopal felt on Wednesday it will only strengthen his resolve to come back stronger with some good performances.

Pandya was announced as MI captain for the IPL 2024 season, replacing fan-favourite Rohit Sharma, who led the franchise to five titles.

The change of guard hasn't gone down well with the fans, who have expressed their displeasure by booing Pandya across venues.


Recalling his friendship with Pandya, Gopal said the MI skipper is mentally very strong to get unnerved by the behaviour of the crowd.

"I have known Hardik for a decade, and nothing much has changed. He is a really tough guy, and something like this is only going to motivate him," said Gopal during a press conference ahead of the clash against Punjab Kings.

"The way he has taken it so far is very inspiring for a lot of us. Although it's not easy to take it daily, he is strong and kudos to him.

"He has not let it affect him personally. But, it will probably be there in his head."

Under Pandya's leadership, MI have won just two of their six games so far and are placed eighth in the 10-team table.

Gopal, however, said the dressing room atmosphere remains positive and the team will bounce back.

"The team atmosphere is great. Unfortunately, we couldn't cross the line on the winning side in the last match, but every team goes through ups and downs. When you start hitting a purple patch, you start clicking as a team," he said.

"We did see a couple of good games when we came together as a group. We must put all aspects (batting, bowling and fielding) together in one match. We have been playing some really good cricket.

"History says that (we get off to poor starts). But, when we come together, the character is shown. This team always has that X-factor that stands up and wants to prove to themselves that they are good enough to win championships."

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