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Here’s why Hardik Pandya was preferred over Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians’ captain

Here’s why Hardik Pandya was preferred over Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians’ captain

While Rohit has returned to form this season (297 runs in 7 matches), MI's performance is middling (3 wins in 7). The captaincy change might be a future-oriented gamble. Can Hardik's leadership and Rohit's batting revival work for MI? The answer remains to be seen.

The question of Mumbai Indians’ (MI) captaincy change continues to spark discussions. While Rohit Sharma’s successful leadership delivered five IPL titles for MI, the franchise chose to look beyond Rohit and replaced him as the skipper by Hardik Pandya. The premier all-rounder was traded in from Gujarat Titans (GT) in an all-cash deal ahead of IPL 2024.

Robin Uthappa, former Indian batsman, recently shed some light on the possible reasons behind the move. Uthappa pointed to a potential link between Rohit’s form with the bat and the leadership change.

In the last four years, statistically… I’m never gonna question the caliber and the gloriousness of Rohit Sharma the batter. But look at it from a franchise perspective. They won in 2020. They didn’t win in the last three years. And the last three years, Rohit scored less than 300 runs (only once). So there’s a lack of success as a batter, a lack of success as a captain. In just the IPL cause everywhere else, he has scored runs,” Uthappa said during the ‘TRS’ podcast.

Notably, Rohit’s batting numbers haven’t been stellar in recent IPL seasons. Since scoring a whopping 405 runs in 2019, his performance dipped significantly. From 2020 to 2023, he managed only 1,313 runs in 55 games, averaging a mere 23.8 and at an ordinary strike rate of 127.23. This dip in form might have been a factor in MI’s decision according to Uthappa.

It’s important to remember, however, that Rohit has bounced back in IPL 2024 with a current tally of 297 runs in just seven matches, averaging a healthy 49.5 with a strike rate of 164.

More on IPL 2024

MI’s homegrown talent vs INR 9.2 crore buy

Apart from this, Uthappa even highlighted the the contrasting situations when Rohit and Hardik were handed the captaincy. When Rohit took over from Ricky Ponting mid-season in 2013, he had the full backing of senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh. In Hardik’s case, MI is grooming a “pure Mumbai Indians boy” they discovered through their scouting system.

Hardik Pandya is their discovery. They did it through their scouting methods. So they are essentially looking at a pure Mumbai Indians boy. When captaincy was given to Rohit Sharma it was taken from Ricky Ponting in the middle of the season. This is the same franchise. All the senior guys Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, and Ricky Ponting supported Rohit,” Uthappa uttered.

The MI franchise picked up Rohit at the 2011 auctions for a whopping amount of INR 9.20 crore. On the other hand, courtesy of their laudable scouting system, unearthed a true gem in Hardik Pandya ahead of IPL 2015.

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