Deepak Hooda made a statement with his 28-ball 64 in his return to cricket in the IPL match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals on Monday. Hooda, who had been suspended by the Baroda cricket board after the vice-captain had walked out of the domestic team alleging “misbehaviour” on the part of captain Krunal Pandya, had been forced to missed the Indian domestic season.
Hooda smashed his fifty in 20 balls, the fastest 50 in the IPL by an uncapped Indian. Irfan Pathan was one of the first to hail Hooda’s fighting spirit as he reached his fifty.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) April 12, 2021
Hooda last played a competitive game during IPL 2020 in October. The Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) suspended him for the Indian domestic season.
Before this, in a mail sent to BCA, which was accessed by The Indian Express, Hooda had made a series of allegations against Krunal Pandya.
“At this moment, I am demoralised, depressed and under pressure. As from last some days and at least from last couple of days, my team captain Mr Kurnal Pandiya is using abusing language to me in front of my teammates and also other states teams who have come for participation at Reliance stadium Vadodara,” Hooda wrote.
After the suspension, Irfan Pathan had said that such incidents may have adverse effects on a player and should be avoided. Pathan, who played for Baroda for 17 years said that “during the difficult times of this pandemic wherein mental health of a player is of utmost importance as they have to stay in a bio-bubble as well as keep themselves focused on the game.”
In a post, on social media, the 36-year-old expressed his disappointment over the entire incident and reiterated the importance of a harmonious environment which helps the player to perform their job on the field.
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) April 12, 2021
Hooda’s blitzkrieg helped Punjab Kings breach the 200-run barrier for the first in IPL 2021 as they posted 221/6.