Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul set about a pioneering act following the closely contested VIVO Indian Premier League match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, establishing the sportsmanship spirit notwithstanding the result of the critical game.
Despite scoring a fighting 94, Rahul ended up on the losing side as KXIP went down to MI by just three runs at the Wankhede Stadium, leaving Mumbai to fight for another day and leaving Punjab a steep hill to climb. But after the match, Pandya met Rahul on the field near the dugout where the two exchanged jerseys impromptu.
Play hard, play fair! Respect comes first. ✊🏽— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) 17 May 2018
Super knock, by a super player and an even better friend @klrahul11 #MIvKXIP @mipaltan @lionsdenkxip pic.twitter.com/dNvF7BUqn0
“We’ve seen this happening a lot in football. Hardik and me are good friends and I felt like it will be nice to collect some jerseys and to bring that tradition to cricket as well,” Rahul reasoned. “We didn’t speak about it earlier. As we were talking he said, ‘Give me your jersey’ and we exchanged jerseys. It’s a nice thing.”
The beauty of #VIVOIPL. Check out their jerseys. pic.twitter.com/BBGCHleJEE— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 16, 2018
But Rahul made it clear that despite the camaraderie showmanship off the field, the relationship was the stark opposite on it.
“That is the beauty of the IPL. We play really hard! We play aggressive. We all want to win the game,” he told the official IPL website. “Even though we play 300 days of cricket together but these two months when we play IPL there’s no friendship once step on to the field.