Days before the mini-auction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for season 2024, record-time winners Mumbai Indians (MI) announced the successor of captain Rohit Sharma. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was confirmed as the new leader of the Mumbai Paltan following his sensational transfer to MI from 2022 winners Gujarat Titans (GT). Rohit’s deputy at Team India, all-rounder Hardik helped MI to four IPL crowns between 2015 and 2021.

Rohit’s deputy at Team India, all-rounder Hardik helped MI to four IPL crowns between 2015 and 2021(PTI-BCCI)

Released by MI for IPL 2022, Pandya made his captaincy debut and guided the Gujarat newcomers to title glory. The white-ball maverick also captained Gujarat last season where the GT side finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Staying true to the MI philosophy of being future-ready, Rohit has made way for Hardik, who will assume captaincy of the Mumbai-based franchise next season.

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ALSO READ: Explained: Why Rohit Sharma was replaced by Hardik Pandya as captain of Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2024

‘Not be thinking sentimentally or emotionally about Rohit’

Excited to see Rohit returning as a pure batter for the world’s richest T20 league, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar opined that the leadership change at MI makes a ‘lot of cricketing sense’. “We should not be thinking sentimentally or emotionally about Rohit Sharma. It is a good move by Mumbai Indians because Hardik Pandya is a proven leader and player. He is your in-form T20 captain and player and Rohit Sharma has been around for a long time,” Manjrekar said on Star Sports.

‘I just hope that Hardik Pandya…’

Under Rohit’s leadership, Mumbai became the most successful team in the history of IPL. Only MI and CSK have won five IPL titles since the inception of the tournament. Rohit captained Mumbai Indians in 158 IPL matches. As captain, Rohit won 87 games and MI recorded defeats in 67 matches. The 36-year-old amassed 6,211 runs in 243 IPL matches. “It makes a lot of cricketing sense to bring in Hardik Pandya, I just hope that Hardik Pandya does not feel the pressure due to the way this has happened. Rohit Sharma will be the same batter. If he continues to be the pure batter and not a captain, I don’t mind the leadership change at all,” Manjrekar added.

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