Cricket
MI in Mess: Matthew Hayden blasts management over Hardik Pandya-Rohit Sharma captaincy fiasco

MI in Mess: Matthew Hayden blasts management over Hardik Pandya-Rohit Sharma captaincy fiasco

MI have slumped down to the bottom of IPL 2024 points tab le after losing all three of their opening games

Former Australia opener, Matthew Hayden, suggested that Mumbai Indians (MI) could have managed the transition of captaincy from Rohit Sharma to Hardik Pandya differently, considering the deep emotional connections fans had with their beloved players.

The MI captaincy controversy erupted a few months ago when Rohit Sharma was suddenly stripped of the captaincy, and Hardik Pandya was appointed in his place following his transfer from the Gujarat Titans (GT). This decision caused a stir among cricket fans and former players alike.

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The scrutiny on Hardik has increased significantly, with strong criticism from Rohit supporters who believe he played a major role in Rohit’s removal as MI skipper. The level of hostility towards Hardik from fans has been remarkable.

Fans are the biggest stakeholders: Mathew Hayden

Hayden proposed that MI should have involved Rohit in communicating the captaincy change to fans. Hardik’s appointment as captain faced opposition from fans who preferred Rohit due to his successful tenure that had led MI to five IPL titles.

“See the fans are the biggest stake holders in this and they often don’t have the politics, the insights, but they want to understand this, they love Rohit Sharma. There’s going to be no getting around that. So potentially how it could have been handled a little bit differently is to ensure that Rohit is on board with it, the franchise is communicating it out to the fans, through social media platforms that announce a lot of these things and they actually carry a lot of weight.” said Hayden.

Moreover, the backlash against Hardik has been unprecedented, even extending to the field. During MI’s home match against Rajasthan Royals at Wankhede Stadium, Hardik Pandya was heavily jeered by the fans. Hayden emphasized the importance of considering fans as key stakeholders in such decisions and the need for transparent communication.

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Reassess Hardik’s leadership

Drawing parallels with the Chennai Super Kings’ captaincy transition in 2022, Hayden underscored the challenges and uncertainties associated with leadership changes.

“You’ve got to have a succession plan when we saw the same as CSK last season than where you’ve got. Jaddu came into captaincy and it didn’t quite work for them. So, you know, maybe there is an opportunity to reassess if there is some concerns in and around Hardik’s leadership”Hayden added.

He cautioned against prematurely judging Hardik Pandya’s leadership abilities based on early-season performances, stressing the significance of how transitions impacted team morale and fan sentiments.

“But I think it’s grossly unfair to look at a start season, which is notoriously slow for Mumbai Indians and judge, you know, one of the iconic cricketers in India. and will be so for a long time to come as well, subject to his own fitness, which is always vulnerable being a all-around her as he is,” Hayden concluded.

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