Rohit Sharma Snubbed!

The Mumbai Indians IPL franchise has replaced him as captain with Hardik Pandya

Ahead of the auction for the IPL 2024 edition on December 19, the Mumbai Indians (MI) franchise announced that Hardik Pandya would lead the side in the upcoming season. While the development was not unexpected, it has put the cricketing fraternity on overdrive speculating about outgoing MI skipper Rohit Sharma’s future as India’s captain — especially with the T20 World Cup scheduled in June next year.


Rohit has led the side in 11 IPL editions and won the title 5 times, and many feel that he deserved better treatment and a more fitting farewell from captaincy. Former Indian women’s team captain Shantha
Rangaswamy feels Rohit has been snubbed on the pretext of ‘looking for future and long run’ by the franchise. She says MI has been acting on the advice of its global head of performance, Mahela Jayawardene.

She questions the timing of the announcement of Hardik’s captaincy.
“You cannot replace someone like Rohit overnight. If MI was able to win the title five times, it’s because of Rohit. So I feel it’s unfair to treat Rohit like this, especially after he brought so many laurels to Team India,” she says, and alleges that MI had sent the ‘wrong’ signals to the cricket fraternity.


In 2025, there will be a mega auction where only four players can be retained — 3 Indians and 1 overseas player. With the three Indians likely to be Hardik Pandya, Surya Kumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah, it is clear that Rohit won’t make the cut.

Former Indian cricketer V.V. Kumar acknowledges that Hardik has been in the lime-light of late for his leadership, bowling and fielding. “There’s a gap in MI that came as a result of Rohit’s slump in form and Hardik has successfully filled that vacuum,” says Kumar adding that Rohit’s role will be to share knowledge and pass on his wisdom.

“Several players have gone through this. Sachin gave it (MI captaincy) to Ponting; he gave it to Harbhajan who in turn gave it to Rohit. So it’s a part of the legacy building of the MI franchise. So who knows, Rohit
may shine in his new role as a player and set the stage on fire,” Kumar says.


Although BCCI has not announced that Hardik would replace Rohit as Captain for Team India’s T-20 World Cup, the possibility can’t be ruled
out. “There are strong chances of Hardik being made Captain of India’s T-20 World Cup. Things are changing rapidly,” says former cricketer Arun Lal.

However, Team India cannot have two captains for white-ball format (ODI and T-20s).

Hence, if Hardik takes over as T-20 captain, it is only a matter of time he replaces Rohit as ODI captain.

“Yes, I sense that he (Hardik) is a strong contender for the ODI too. May not be right away, but eventually it will happen. Hardik has been a regular in ODI and T-20s, and he has all the skills of leading a team like
we have seen in the IPL (for Gujarat Titans). He has a big part to play in ODI too — he is a medium pace all-rounder too and that’s a rare combination to have in a team,” adds Arun Lal.


Rohit is still the stand-in captain of Team India in all the three formats. But, will a change at an IPL franchise have a cascading effect at the
National Level too? There is one section which thinks that MI’s decision is unlikely to have any bearing on Sharma’s role as far as the 2024 T20 World Cup is concerned.

Former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput feels “it is too early to comment” and notes that IPL is different from National duties.

“Rohit has done brilliantly for Mumbai Indians and for Team India. We don’t know how things change at the National level. So a change in captaincy in an IPL franchise need not mean a change elsewhere, because IPL and playing for a country are different. But BCCI is keeping a close tab on all the happenings and will take a call soon,” he says.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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