'But Hardik doesn't have to be Dhoni' - ex India opener lends support to stand-in skipper on Tilak Varma issue

The Indian T20I captain has been severely criticised for his six to close out the third T20I against the West Indies which denied young Varma his fifty. 
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Amidst heavy criticism and trolling for his match-winning six that denied young Tilak Varma a fifty in the third T20I versus the West Indies, stand-in India skipper Hardik Pandya found rare support in the form of ex-opener Aakash Chopra. 

While fans continue to diss at Pandya for hitting one straight down the ground when Tilak was left stranded on 49 not out and insist he missed out on an ideal opportunity to emulate his idol the legendary MS Dhoni, Chopra said it is not a written mandate that the premier allrounder must approach the game like Dhoni did. 

The Dhoni reference comes from the famous incident of the then India skipper choosing to dead-bat a delivery with one further run required in the semifinal of the 2014 T20 World Cup and letting modern-day maestro Virat Kohli do the honours after acing the run-chase against South Africa. 

Chopra backs Hardik Pandya on 'Tilak Varma' incident 

With no rights or wrongs in the corresponding case, however, Hardik Pandya indirectly let young Varma know that isn't the milestone that the current Indian team bases its judgement of proceedings and decision-making on when perhaps the easier thing would've been to let the 21-year-old hit the winning runs and register his half-century. 

Speaking over his YouTube channel, Chopra defended the stand-in India T20I skipper and pressed that he has the right to establish his team's moral ethos and send a message across to youngsters like Tilak Varma. 

Chopra echoed the sentiments expressed by his famous commentary partner Harsha Bhogle, who, too, had come out in support of Hardik Pandya for not over-prioritising milestones. 

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"Just to touch upon it. It's an interesting one, Hardik Pandya has been trolled a lot and has been criticised. But there's another school of thought that says, why are you talking about milestones in T20 cricket? So, that was quite in the middle of conversation," Chopra said. 

"I remember once MS Dhoni played a forward defensive shot because he wanted him to finish it off, he didn't want to take the limelight. But Hardik doesn't have to be a Dhoni, even if he considers him an idol," he added.