Mahela Jayawardene. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
In a surprising turn of events, the Mumbai Indians have made a bold move ahead of the IPL 2024 season, replacing the seasoned captain, Rohit Sharma, with the explosive all-rounder, Hardik Pandya. This decision, as described by the Head of Cricket and former coach, Mahela Jayawardene, was both “tough” and “emotional.”
Hardik Pandya, fresh from a successful stint with the Gujarat Titans, has been handed the captaincy reins, causing a few raised eyebrows among cricket enthusiasts. However, Jayawardene assured fans that Rohit Sharma, at 37, is far from done on the field and will continue to play a pivotal role for the Mumbai Indians.
The Mumbai Indians are no strangers to tough decisions, and Jayawardene emphasized that the move was part of a long-term plan for the franchise.
“(long-term plan) This is something we have spoken about as a franchise. It is a tough decision, we had to make them. It is emotional, it is tough, to be honest. But everyone who has been part of Mumbai know we cherish every moment a player has contributed and will contribute going forward,” Jayawardene told Jio Cinema.
Jayawardene further emphasized the significance of having Rohit both on and off the field to guide the next generation, highlighting its crucial importance for the Mumbai Indians team moving forward.
“Having Ro (Rohit Sharma) in the team, on and off the field to guide the next generation is very important for us. He has been absolutely brilliant. I have worked very closely with Ro. He is a fabulous individual and I am sure he will be part of the legacy who will guide that through,” Jayawardene said.
Mumbai have had that in the past too with Sachin Tendulkar: Jayawardene
Jayawardene made it clear that the decision to pass the captaincy baton was a collective one. He drew a parallel with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s early years with the Mumbai Indians, highlighting how Tendulkar was willing to play under other captains.
“Mumbai have had that in the past too with Sachin (Tendulkar), who played with the youngsters. He gave the leadership to someone else and made sure Mumbai Indians was going in the right direction. It’s the same thing. We had this conversation and everyone is buying into that, so, it’s for us to look forward to the next season,” Jayawardene added.
As the Mumbai Indians brace themselves for a new era under Hardik Pandya’s leadership, the focus remains on building on the team’s legacy and continuing to fight for victories and trophies.