Before the start of IPL 2024, Mumbai Indians have put themselves in the dock by snatching the captaincy from Rohit Sharma. The decision to appoint Hardik Pandya as the captain in place of Rohit has sparked controversy and speculation. Since then many questions have been raised on the team management of Mumbai Indians. MI head coach Mark Boucher has explained the reasoning behind the move.
Ahead of the IPL 2024 mini auction, Mumbai Indians opted to bring back Hardik Pandya from Gujarat Titans in an all-cash deal of Rs 15 crore. Notably, Hardik Pandya was a part of Mumbai Indians till 2021. Soon after his return, he was appointed captain. The decision sparked reports of discord within the team, with social media posts from senior players Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav hinting at possible issues. At the same time, now Mark Boucher has broken his silence on this matter. He told why Hardik Pandya has been made the captain in place of Rohit Sharma.
Speaking on the Smash Sports podcast, Mark Boucher clarified, "I think it was purely a cricketing decision. We saw the window period to get Hardik back as a player. For me it's a transition phase. A lot of people don't understand in India, people get quite emotional But you know you take the emotions away from it. I think it's just more of a cricketing decision that was made and I do think it is going to bring the best out of Rohit as a person as a player. Just let him go out and enjoy and score some good runs,"
Praising Rohit, Boucher said, "One thing I did pick up with Ro (Rohit) is that he is a fantastic guy. I mean he's been captaining for ages and he's done really well for Mumbai Indians. Now he also leads India as well. It is that he walks into a place and there's just cameras in it and he's so busy and he hasn't had probably the best couple of seasons of late with the bat but he's done well as a captain."
"He is still going to captain India so that hype's going be there but when he steps into the IPL maybe just taking that extra bit of pressure off him as a captain an maybe we get the best out of Rohit Sharma. We want to see him playing with a smile on his face, spending a bit of time with his beautiful family." Boucher added.
Rohit is the most successful IPL captain of all time. MS Dhoni may have the same number of IPL titles as Rohit but that Rohit achieved them in fewer seasons makes him the GOAT. Having said that, the pressure of MI not winning titles like they used to every alternate years they haven't win since 2020 and was reflecting on Rohit’s form. IPL 2022 was his worst ever season which saw him score just 268 runs from 14 matches as MI failed to reach the Playoffs. Last year, MI did and even Rohit bettered his returns with 332 from 16 games, he was far from his free-flowing best. All these factors combined in MI taking away captaincy from their biggest franchise player in IPL 2024.
"I just thought you know when we're speaking with the whole Mumbai Indians group, we thought that maybe this is the opportunity for him to step as a player. We believe he got some great value to add and just go out there and actually enjoy it without the hype of being a captain," Boucher said.