Rahul, Hardik bring football's jersey-swap tradition to cricket

The swapping of jerseys at the end of a football match has been a familiar sight for decades. Remember Pele and Bobby More exchanging jerseys and embracing each other after Brazil defeated England 1-0 in the 1970 World Cup? Cricket got a taste of it when Kings XI Punjab's KL Rahul and Mumbai Indians' Hardik Pandya swapped jerseys as a mark of friendship and mutual respect after a see-sawing last-over finish in the IPL at Wankhede Stadium.

"We've seen this happening a lot in football and Hardik and I are good friends," Rahul told iplt20.com. "I felt it will be nice to collect some jerseys and bring that tradition to cricket as well. We didn't speak about his earlier. As we were talking, I said 'give me your jersey' and he wanted my jersey too. So, we exchanged jerseys. It's a nice, nice thing."

The IPL is a strange place where friends turn foes. Delhi team-mates Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir once had a go at each other in a game between Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders, with another then-Delhi player, Rajat Bhatia, intervening to cool things down.

On Wednesday night, Rahul looked despondent and admonished himself after holing out for a sublime 94 and leaving Kings XI needing 20 off nine balls. They ultimately lost by three runs and their playoff chances took a beating. Hardik also took a beating, conceding 42 runs in four overs without taking a wicket. But all that ceased to matter when the game ended and the jerseys changed hands.

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