On Hardik Pandya replacing Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain, Harsha Bhogle’s ‘Open Secret’ verdict

Acclaimed cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle believes it was an ‘open secret’ Hardik Pandya had to replace Rohit Sharma as the Mumbai Indians skipper. The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise announced the decision ahead of the 2024 season after Hardik completed a sensational switch from Gujarat Titans. Bhogle took to social media to react to the MI decision and said that while this is a step forward for the team, Hardik will face a tough challenge to keep pace with the side’s ambitions.

“Hardik Pandya wanting to captain @mipaltan was an open secret. Rohit Sharma can claim to be, with MS Dhoni, the best leader in #IPL . It might not be a bad idea to let him relax and have fun because IPL can take a lot out of you and he will have led India in 5 Tests a little before that. While this is a move with the next few years in mind, it will be a huge challenge for Hardik considering the number of stars in the side and the ambition of the franchise. Makes #IndianMumbais the team to watch this year,” he wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).

In November this year, Pandya moved from Gujarat Titans (GT) to his former franchise Mumbai Indians (MI) following a trade between both franchises.

The all-rounder spent two significant years with GT and spearheaded their campaign with confidence. In GT’s debut season in 2022, Hardik ensured a fairytale start, with the team lifting the coveted trophy while finishing runners-up in their second season after a last-ball defeat in a thrilling final earlier this year.

Pandya has big shoes to fill as the new skipper of MI as Rohit has led the franchise to five IPL title wins.
In 31 matches for GT from 2022-23, Pandya scored 833 runs at an average of 37.86 and a strike rate of over 133, with six half-centuries and a best score of 87*. He also had 11 wickets for the team, with best figures of 3/17.

Pandya also played 92 matches for MI from 2015-2021 and scored 1,476 runs at an average of 27.33 with a strike rate of over 153, with four half-centuries and a best score of 91. He also took 42 wickets for the team, with best bowling -number of 3/20.

Pandya has won five IPL trophies, four with MI (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020) and GT (2022).

(With ANI inputs)

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