Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar believes the changing of guard at Mumbai Indians (MI) will only benefit the joint record-time winners of the Indian Premier League (IPL) next season. After an impressive 2023 season in the cash-rich league, Mumbai Indians sealed a historic all-cash trade by roping in all-rounder Hardik Pandya from Gujarat Titans (GT) prior to the auction.
All-rounder Pandya returned to Mumbai Indians after guiding Gujarat Titans to back-to-back IPL finals. Local hero Pandya propelled GT to IPL glory in their debut season. In Pandya’s final season as captain of the Gujarat-based franchise, 2022 winners GT contested the final of the IPL against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Rohit’s former deputy at Team India, white-ball maverick Pandya was named MI’s new captain following his lucrative move to the Wankhede Stadium.
‘Rohit Sharma is already 36’
Was the Mumbai Indians franchise right in replacing Rohit with Pandya as captain for IPL 2024? Batting legend Gavaskar recently explained why the change in leadership was imminent at the Mumbai camp. “Look they have always thought about the future of the franchise. Rohit Sharma is already 36 years old and also faces immense pressure being the captain of India for all three formats. They have tried to reduce some of that burden and give that responsibility on the young shoulders of Hardik Pandya,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
‘Handing Hardik the captaincy only going to benefit MI’
Veteran opener Rohit scored 332 runs in 16 games last season. However, the all-format captain of the Indian team guided MI to the playoffs last season. Under Rohit’s leadership, MI won 87 games and recorded defeats in 67 matches. MI captain Hardik has also captained Team India in the absence of the regular skipper. “Handing Hardik the captaincy is only going to benefit the Mumbai Indians. They have now given the freedom to Rohit to go and express himself freely at the top of the order. Hardik can then come at No.3 or No.5 and help them post totals of 200-plus consistently,” Gavaskar added.