April 19, 2024

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Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya took on one of the hardest tasks in franchise cricket when he was asked to take up the leadership role by the franchise’s bosses. As easy as it may sound, leading a team with as many superstars as Mumbai have, isn’t a smooth ride. The pressure of matching the legacy of Rohit Sharma, who led the franchise to 5 titles in 10 years, coupled with the challenge of proving the owners’ decision of his appointment as the captain, is huge. Fair to say that, so far in the 2 games that Mumbai Indians have played, Hardik hasn’t been able to rise up to the challenge.

With MI travelling home for the next match against Rajasthan Royals, after the first two matches away, the task doesn’t get any easier for Hardik, as some of the loyal supporters of the team are expected to welcome their new skipper Hardik with boos and jeers.

Hardik might be able to keep the fan anger towards his appointment as skipper away from his on-field responsibilities but he is bound to get affected by the negative sentiment. While there seems to be no quick fix to the solution, it’s only his predecessor, Rohit Sharma, who can get the fans to change their tone.

Remember when Virat Kohli got fans to stop booing Steve Smith at the Adelaide Oval? The Australia star was relentlessly targeted by a section of Indian fans at the venue, prompting Virat to intervene and urge them to stop doing it. The fans indeed listened and even Smith was thankful to Kohli for the gesture.

After the infamous altercation with Lucknow Super Giants pacer Naveen-ul-Haq in the IPL 2023 season, Kohli recently made the fans booing the Afghanistan pacer take a 180-degree turn. The India stalwart, during a T20 against Afghanistan earlier this year, asked fans to stop booing the Afghanistan seamer. Once again, the crowd listened and what happened between the two cricketers became a part of history.

As Mumbai Indians take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium, Rohit Sharma can also put the entire captaincy fiasco to bet by speaking to the franchise’s supporters themselves.

The owners have made their decision to go ahead with Hardik as skipper. Rohit, who might not be fully pleased with the decision, has also accepted the fact. Now, it’s for the Hitman to get into the hearts of the fans that admire him a lot, and change the perception they have for Hardik Pandya.

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