Hardik grabbed by MI; Cricket drama to begin?

While some were left perplexed—especially Rohit's fans—others thought it was a logical next step.

Mumbai Indians recently grabbed Hardik Pandya as their captain by replacing Rohit Sharma. While some were left perplexed—especially Rohit’s fans—others thought it was a logical next step. The 30-year-old all-rounder’s leadership was a topic of controversy after MI acquired him from the Gujarat Titans last month for an astounding sum.

Given that Hardik had captained the Gujarat Titans and guided them to the IPL championship in their first season, it made sense. He has also been designated as Rohit’s right hand in the Indian squad. Out of the previous 25 games, Hardik had captained the India T20 team 13 times.

He would have captained the most recent white-ball series against Australia and South Africa if it weren’t for an injury sustained during the World Cup. Prior to the transfer, Hardik had set the goal of leading MI on the table for himself.

Time cuts with such cruelty. And the inevitable things in life are reflected in athletics. Like many athletes, one of India’s most productive openers is getting older. Rohit is 36 currently. There were rumours regarding Rohit’s India captaincy in the shorter forms following the ODI World Cup, where he led the squad to the final. He was sidelined for the whole white-ball series following the World Cup and hasn’t played a T20I since the 2022 World Cup.

Later this month, though, Rohit will return as the Test skipper against South Africa. Anticipate adjustments in the India lineup as well, if Hardik’s selection as MI captain is any guide. Even the futures of veteran players like Rohit and Virat Kohli may be affected by this. Regarding the T20 World Cup, Rohit remains a possibility.

The obstacles ahead for Hardik will be enormous. He will be leading a team that has had three leaders in the past: Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma. Rumours of a split have reportedly already been triggered by the leadership call. Leading the side would have been nothing at all for Bumrah.

In order to surpass Rohit, who has won the IPL in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, Hardik must do the same. Only M S Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai Super Kings, has won as many. Further changes to the lineup are anticipated if Hardik is selected as the next captain of India in the Twenty20 format. After all, transition in Indian cricket is never smooth, they say.

Hardik PandyaMumbai IndiansRohit Sharma