Mumbai Indians’ Captaincy: Will It Be Rohit Sharma or Hardik Pandya?

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As Hardik Pandya completes a homecoming, the question is who will be Mumbai Indians captain? Rohit Sharma or Pandya in IPL 2024?

Is it too soon or too late for Mumbai Indians to bring back Hardik Pandya? And the bigger question is why? While some Mumbai fans are happy to see their prodigal son’s homecoming, some may be wondering, why, especially a year before the mega auction. And why did Hardik Pandya leave captaincy in Gujarat Titans to only be Rohit Sharma’s deputy at MI, at least for IPL 2024? There must be a bigger picture!

It’s unclear what went down between Hardik Pandya and Mumbai Indians. But it’s clear that an IPL-winning captain won’t accept a trade if captaincy was not on the table.

What happens to Rohit Sharma?

He could be 36-year-old but he is still the most successful captain of Indian Premier League with five IPL trophies. Only the legendary MS Dhoni can match him.

The World Cup 2023 heartbreak aside, Rohit has to take some tough calls to prolong his career. Even though he played the World Cup like an explosive T20 batter, hammering 597 runs at a 120.94 strike rate, his numbers in T20Is and IPL have dwindled.

Rohit Sharma

Mumbai Indians captain

• Matches: 158

• Wins: 87

• Losses: 67

• Titles: 5

Hardik Pandya

Mumbai Indians

• Matches: 31

• Wins: 22

• Losses: 9

• Titles: 1

In the last three IPL seasons, Rohit Sharma managed just three half-centuries. And since 2016, his batting average has never touched 30. That’s a concern.

As Rohit Sharma contemplates giving up at least one format to prolong his India career, stepping down from Mumbai Indians captaincy could also be on the cards. He would have less pressure and could play freely as he did in the World Cup.

What’s in it for Hardik Pandya?

Was Hardik Pandya so homesick that he did not care if he would need to play under Rohit at Mumbai Indians again? It’s unlikely. The only logical explanation could be Hardik taking the mantle from Rohit at the end of IPL 2024. But that’s just an assumption at this moment.

Hardik is India’s captain-elect in T20Is in the lead-up to T20 World Cup 2024. It’s very likely that Rohit Sharma won’t play in the T20 WC next year. And there won’t be a better player than Hardik taking up the captaincy mantle at MI. He epitomes what MI have stood for. Hardik is the first successful player to come out of MI’s scouting program. He not only has put up match-winning performances, he has proved that even away from home comfort, he can make it work as a leader.

He is the natural successor to Rohit Sharma at Mumbai Indians. And that’s the reason, it raised eyebrows when MI let Hardik leave in 2022 ahead of the mega auction instead of Kieron Pollard.

But as the prodigal son returns home, Hardik Pandya will be the next Mumbai Indians captain. When? That’s still up for discussion.

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