With a surprising move, Mumbai Indians (MI), the five-time champions of the Indian Premier League (IPL), have appointed Hardik Pandya as their captain for the upcoming 2024 season.
This marks the end of the Rohit Sharma era, as the legendary opener has been leading the Mumbai-based franchise since 2013, guiding them to an impressive five IPL titles — a record he shares with Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni.
The decision to trade Hardik Pandya from Gujarat Titans (GT) to MI in a jaw-dropping deal, despite his leadership success with the Ashish Nehra-coached side, suggests a strategic shift for MI. The franchise, last crowned champions in 2020, seems keen on ushering in change for the forthcoming season.
Former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has weighed in on the captaincy debate, acknowledging the challenges faced by aging players in franchise cricket.
Yuvraj stated, “In franchise cricket, it always gets tough as you get old. Every franchise is always looking to promote a young player on whom they have spent a lot, and that is only fair.” Drawing from his own experience, Yuvraj emphasized that while franchises prioritize young talent, there is no substitute for the wealth of experience that seasoned players bring to the table.
Rohit Sharma’s counterpart, Virat Kohli, is also grappling with fierce competition from a group of emerging youngsters in India’s T20I setup, including Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, and Shivam Dube.
Yuvraj Singh, however, believes that both Rohit and Kohli can still contribute significantly in the shortest format of the game. “A number of young players have been doing very well in T20s. Having said that, there can be no replacement for experience either,” remarked the 42-year-old cricketing icon.