Anil Kumble offers the reason for picking Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians’ captain in IPL 2013

Apr 24, 2024

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Rohit Sharma, a luminary in the annals of cricket history, particularly within the Indian Premier League (IPL), has steered the Mumbai Indians (MI) to an impressive tally of five IPL titles since the tournament’s inception. Affectionately known as the “Hitman,” this Indian opener stands as one of the most successful players and captains in IPL history, sharing this distinction with the revered former captain of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), MS Dhoni.

Rohit Sharma: The captaincy maestro of Mumbai Indians

In discussing Rohit’s meteoric ascent, former MI mentor Anil Kumble divulged the rationale behind entrusting him with the captaincy midway through the 2013 season, replacing Australia‘s World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting, despite the presence of several other senior players in the dressing room.

The year 2013 marked the beginning of Rohit’s tenure as MI captain, a pivotal juncture that witnessed a flurry of trophy-laden triumphs under his stewardship. Serving as a mentor during this transformative period, Kumble, alongside head coach John Wright, witnessed MI clinch both the IPL and Champions Trophy titles in his inaugural year. The culmination of Kumble’s tenure in 2015 saw MI secure yet another IPL trophy, reaffirming Sharma’s prowess as a dynamic leader on the cricketing stage.

Also WATCH: Rohit Sharma reacts to “Humara Captain kaisa ho” chants after the team bus gets stuck in traffic

Anil Kumble’s insight: The strategic shift in Mumbai Indians’ leadership

In a candid conversation with Ravichandran Ashwin on his talk show “Kutti Stories with Ash,” Kumble unveiled the strategic shift that led to Rohit assuming the captaincy role.

Kumble explained that the initial plan was to appoint Ponting as captain, despite concerns about his performance towards the end of his career, particularly in the T20 format. However, after Mumbai struggled in the first few games and pressure mounted due to the limit on foreign players, Ponting graciously stepped aside. This paved the way for the decision to appoint Rohit as captain.

“So the entire plan was to get Ricky in to becoming the captain. And, there was little bit of concern because he was again at the back end of his career in terms of how well he “go in the T20 format. I mean, great player, legend, but towards the end there’s always, especially if your are going to make him a captain. And once the first few games didn’t go well, Mumbai didn’t win enough games, there was a pressure to change because only four foreigner players you could play. So Ricky was kind enough to sort of step aside and that when we decided that we will go with Rohit (for captaincy),” Kumble said.

The ascension of Rohit: From player to leader

Kumble elaborated, recounting the pivotal moment when he, John, and the team owner deliberated on the need for a player to shoulder responsibility. The impact of their decision reverberated through the team’s performance, evident in Mumbai’s initial struggles.

In Kolkata for a crucial match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the decision became imperative. Engaging in dialogue with, both John and Kumble broached the subject of captaincy. Without a moment’s hesitation, Rohit embraced the opportunity, expressing unwavering confidence in his ability to lead. Despite the weight of expectation and the presence of eminent figures in the team, Rohit exhibited resolute resolve, affirming his readiness to lead.

“When I, John Wright, and the owner sat down, we thought the team needed a player who could take responsibility. The impact of the decision was felt on the team’s form, as Mumbai wasn’t winning initial matches. We were in Kolkata for the game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and we had to make this decision. John Wright and I spoke to Rohit about whether he would like to captain the team. He said, yes, absolutely. Rohit wasn’t nervous and made the decision immediately. There was no hesitation from his side despite all big names being the part of the team,” the 57-year-old concluded.

Also READ: T20 World Cup 2024: Spin legend Harbhajan Singh names Team India’s next captain after Rohit Sharma

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