Jersey exchange is quite common in football but the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) saw the ritual take place between two of the teams’ superstars – Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul – who swapped jerseys after the conclusion of the game at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
The unique moment between the two players also arrived at a stage where the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is less than a month away.
With the 11th edition of IPL set to conclude on May 27, the biggest sporting extravaganza will take over from June 14 and it seems Indian cricketers are already feeling the effect of it.
KL Rahul, the KXIP opening batsman who saw his 94-run knock go to waste as MI claimed victory in the last-over thriller, said that the jersey-exchange ritual is something that the football world has seen a lot and he, along with Hardik, have decided to bring the same into cricket.
“We’ve seen this happening a lot in football. Obviously, Hardik and I are good friends. I felt it would be nice to collect some jerseys and bring that tradition in cricket,” Rahul told IPL’s official website on Wednesday.
The Karnataka lad added, “We didn’t speak about this earlier. As we were talking, I said ‘give me your jersey’. He wanted my jersey too. So we exchanged it. It’s a nice, nice thing.”
“We play really hard, aggressive. We all want to win the game. Even though we play 300 days of cricket together, these two months, there is no friendship once we step onto the field. I want to take him down, he wants to get my wicket.
“That’s how the IPL is. It’s not just between me and him, all the eight teams compete hard between one another. That’s what made this tournament the biggest in the world.”
Here’s the video: