IPL 2024: Hardik Pandya says ‘it won’t feel awkward’ to have Rohit Sharma around amid Mumbai Indians captaincy saga


Hardik Pandya believes that he will have the backing of Rohit Sharma throughout the season as Mumbai Indians starts a new era with the former leading the side in the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Rohit, the current Indian captain, captained Mumbai Indians from 2013 to 2023 before the team management replaced him with Pandya at the helm in November last year.

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However, as another season beckons, Hardik made it a point to say that ‘it won’t feel awkward’ to have Rohit around.

“It won’t be any different, because he will be there to help out if I need his help…” Hardik said on Monday. “He is the captain of the Indian team, which helps me because what this team has achieved, it has achieved under him. From now onwards, it will be about carrying forward what he has achieved, so there will be nothing awkward…”

Rohit was the captain of Mumbai when Hardik made his debut in 2015. “I have played for 10 years under him and I know he is going to have his hand on my shoulders throughout the season,” Hardik, who was the captain of Gujarat Titans in the last two editions, said.

However, the new captain admitted that he hasn’t had a word with Rohit yet about the road ahead. “Yes and no to that, because he has been travelling and playing. We haven’t seen each other for the last couple of months. We are all professionals, and by the time the team comes together and once he comes in, we will definitely have a chat,” Hardik said.

Having been out of action since October last year after he suffered an injury during the ODI World Cup, Hardik has only featured in the DY Patil T20 tournament earlier this month, leading to question marks on whether he would bowl during the IPL. “I will be bowling,” Hardik said.

His appointment as Mumbai Indians captain drew huge furore among the fans, but for Hardik it was about getting into the groove.

“I don’t focus on things that I can’t control. At the same point in time, we are grateful to the fans as a lot of fame and love comes from them. I respect their opinion, but at the same time, I am very excited…”

By his own admission, Hardik’s ‘whole life changed’ after making his debut for Mumbai Indians nine years ago, and for him, it’s a ‘surreal feeling’ to be back in the dugout – this time, as a leader.

Mumbai Indians will begin its campaign on March 24 when captain Hardik takes on his old team Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.


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