‘Big MI personalities are making Hardik confused’: Mumbai Indians players fumed at for ‘not accepting Pandya as captain’ | Cricket

Albeit not a new low for Mumbai Indians, who have been perennial slow starters in an Indian Premier League (IPL), their array of three straight defeats since the start of IPL 2024 has been labelled as a disastrous campaign so far, with Hardik Pandya criticised for his captaincy by experts amid the boos from the crowd. On Monday, at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai suffered their third loss in IPL 2024, losing to Rajasthan Royals by six wickets. However, more than the loss, it was a post-match visual of the MI captain that left experts deeply saddened, worried and simultaneously angry at the rest of the players in the team.

Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya and his teammate Rohit Sharma (L) gesture during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match(AFP)
Mumbai Indians’ captain Hardik Pandya and his teammate Rohit Sharma (L) gesture during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match(AFP)

After the loss against Rajasthan, the home team lined up to shake hands with the opposition and congratulate them on the win. Hardik then walked towards the MI dugout on the ground and sat there alone as the rest of the MI players abandoned him and left the ground.

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This very visual left former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh deeply disturbed as he fumed at the Mumbai Indians players for “not accepting Hardik as their captain”.

The India all-rounder was traded from Gujarat Titans last November, where he spent two successful seasons as a captain. Within days, he was named the new captain, with the franchise drawing curtains on Rohit Sharma’s leadership tenure of 11 years, during which MI bagged five titles. The decision did not go down well with experts, who lashed out at the management, or with the fans, who made their voices heard as they booed and jeered at him in all the three matches. However, it seems that even the players aren’t happy with the Hardik at the helm.

“The visuals are not looking good. He has been left alone. The players of the franchise should accept him as their captain. The decision has been made and the team should stick together. Having played for this franchise, the situation is not looking good,” Harbhajan said on Star Sports after the match.

Former MI star Ambati Rayudu, who was part of the panel as well, questioned if the team members are intentionally making Hardik look “confused” and “not work freely”.

“I don’t know whether it is intentional or unintentional but there are a lot of people in the team who are making him confused. The big personalities in the dressing room are not allowing him to work freely as a captain This is not the good situation to be in for any captain,” he added.

Former India cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu criticised the act from the Mumbai players as well, saying that if the players don’t rally behind the captain, the franchise will find it difficult to even win a single match.

“Hardik is feeling dejected and sad because there is no one he can speak to. Other players should understand that a team can only win when everyone plays together as a unit. If they don’t do it, Mumbai will not win. The dug-out pictures of Hardik are telling a sad story,” he said.


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