It still hurts. And it will for a very long time. Somehow, for years, cricket has been absorbed into the political turmoil between India and Pakistan and each match cannot be seen through the lens of “just a game.” This was a humiliating loss beyond comprehension and it not only bought all of our collective earths crashing down, it did so with the tag of the biggest loss in Champions Trophy history.
Let’s focus on the positives that came from the game. One was yours and Bhuvneshwar’s bowling in the first innings – probably the only thing stopping Pakistan from going above a potential 370+ or 400 score. Your spell bore you a wicket for 53 runs – not bad considering the way the other senior bowlers were plastered all across the ground.
Immense maturity in dire straits:
You mixed it up well and were far better than the bowling you displayed in the Bangladesh game. There is a glint of a genuine all-rounder in you and you just need to hit a certain level of consistency with regards to your bowling ability. Take a leaf out of Bhuvi’s or even Hassan Ali’s book – There’s no harm in admitting he played a huge role yesterday.
They were unbeatable, let’s face it. Somehow, they have this innate ability to roar back when the chips are stacked against them time and time again.
You were able to instill a moment of doubt in their unstoppable and relentless charge and only someone special can do that.
To stand up and smash a wonderful 76 off 43 balls when the Pakistani bowling attack seemed possessed is really something noteworthy. Not just the strike rate you were going at, but the urgency and technique you displayed was really uplifting.
Honestly, the post-mortem of your wicket has been done multiple times and your immense frustration won hearts rather than brickbats. So much anger was vented from the time the bails were dislodged to signal your downfall till the moment you entered the dressing room.
We feel you, Hardik, we really do. It struck a nerve in our hearts as well.
Let’s not blame Jadeja either. Mistakes happen in the biggest of stages and will continue to do so. Jadeja is a man who was supremely instrumental in helping us win the previous edition; let’s not let that fade into oblivion soon.
Keep your head up:
To say you’ve had a fantastic tournament would be unfair. You had a couple of bad days with the ball but your batting more than made up for it. Three consecutive sixes in two matches against Pakistan can really raise spirits and place you on a pedestal for young kids watching the game; excited by the slam-bang nature of the maximum over the boundary.
Your eventually futile innings proved one thing to the world – You have it in you to represent India for a long, long time if you continue your hard work.
The results of the time spent at the gym are showing and from here, you can only go from strength to strength. This loss will take time to recover from, but remember that only from the experience of immense pain can the sweetest victories taste that good. And we believe in you and the Indian team to provide us with more moments of happiness over the next few years.
Stay strong brother,
A proud Indian cricket fan.