'Rohit lacked success as a batter and captain:' Robin Uthappa opines why Mumbai Indians made Hardik Pandya the captain

Robin Uthappa backs Hardik Pandya to excel as Mumbai Indians Captain in IPL 2024 

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Former Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa recently reflected on Mumbai Indians’ decision of replacing Hardik Pandya with Rohit Sharma as the captain of the team for the 17th season of the Indian Premier League. The team management’s strategy of hoping for a smooth transition went down the drain as Hardik Pandya was brutally criticised on public platforms for replacing the legendary Indian cricketer. 

Adding fuel to the fire, Mumbai Indians kicked off their IPL 2024 campaign with three consecutive wins and currently stand on the seventh position of the points table. Hardik Pandya took several ambiguous captaincy decisions that did not sit right with the cricket fraternity. From parading Rohit Sharma to different fielding positions to not beginning the bowling attack with the team’s ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya’s captaincy went under the scanner.

Robin Uthappa backs Hardik Pandya to excel as Mumbai Indians Captain in IPL 2024  

In a recent podcast with Ranveer Allahbadia, Robin Uthappa highlighted that previously, Mumbai Indians named Rohit Sharma as the captain of the team in the middle of the 2013 season while replacing the veteran Australian captain Ricky Ponting. The team management’s decision was backed by several experienced squad members like Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh and not many fingers were raised as Mumbai went on to win their maiden IPL in 2013.  

"Hardik Pandya is their discovery. They did it through their scouting methods. So they are essentially looking at a pure Mumbai Indians boy. When captaincy was given to Rohit Sharma it was taken from Ricky Ponting in the middle of the season. This is the same franchise. All the senior guys Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, and Ricky Ponting supported Rohit," Uthappa said. 

The former cricketer highlighted how Rohit Sharma has not had a good run with the bat since IPL 2021 and the team has not won an IPL Title since 2020 which might have prompted them to look for other options apart from the Indian captain. 

Uthappa added, "So there is a reason MI landed on this consensus that maybe we have to look beyond Rohit. Maybe this conversation came about at the end of the last season. They may have conversations in different directions. Then Rohit Sharmna's success at the ODI World Cup came through. His greatness as a player and leader was there for everyone to see. The narrative was thrown up in the air but was yet to land but for Mumbai Indians it landed last year itself, perhaps. From their perspective, they felt they were right. If you look at how they operated before, to how they are operating now, it's the same. They have been consistent, so how can you fault them?" 

Mumbai Indians has managed to win only three league stage matches after playing half of their tournament. With seven games remaining, it will be interesting to see how Hardik Pandya and co. will bounce back and attempt to qualify for the IPL 2024 play-offs.