Hardik Pandya's Mumbai Indians Captaincy Faces Scrutiny After Opening Loss

Hardik Pandya’s Mumbai Indians Captaincy Faces Scrutiny After Opening Loss

Former Indian fast bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji has expressed his belief that Hardik Pandya will need time to establish himself as the Mumbai Indians skipper after taking over from Rohit Sharma ahead of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL).

Balaji acknowledged that Hardik’s appointment has been met with mixed reactions, but he believes the all-rounder has the potential to handle the responsibility. However, he cautioned that if the team struggles, Hardik could face significant challenges.

“It’s not something you see normally,” Balaji said. “But in a professional field, you have to accept that one side is emotional and one side is something very big. When you come to replace a personality like Rohit Sharma, who is already a phenomenal achiever when it comes to Mumbai Indians, definitely it will take some time.”

Balaji emphasized the importance of Hardik gaining the trust of his teammates and adapting to his new role. He also noted that the team’s performance will play a crucial role in shaping the perception of Hardik’s captaincy.

“For Hardik to win the whole dressing room is very important as a player and as a human,” Balaji said. “When they start winning, the emotions will be different. If they start losing, then you have problems to face.”

Meanwhile, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has criticized Hardik’s captaincy after Mumbai Indians’ loss to Gujarat Titans in their IPL 2024 opener. Pathan believes Hardik made several mistakes, including opening the bowling himself and conceding 20 runs in the first over.

“He should have gone with an experienced asset like Jasprit Bumrah instead,” Pathan said.

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