MI vs RR, IPL 2024: Fans in Wankhede boo Hardik Pandya ahead of Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals match


The chants of ‘Rohit, Rohit’ grew louder as Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya walked out to toss on Monday for the franchise’s first home game in this edition of the Indian Premier League.

Within a few seconds, the chants for the erstwhile captain and boos for the current leader dominated the Wankhede Stadium, so much so that Sanjay Manjrekar, who was moderating the toss session for the broadcaster, had to ask the fans to ‘behave’.

However, as Hardik looked bemused, the booing continued. Every time the Mumbai Indians spectators could spot Rohit, they chanted ‘Mumbai cha Raja kaun – Rohit, Rohit’, while making snide remarks on Hardik, who replaced the former as the captain of the franchise this time.

Ever since the change of guard, Hardik received a hostile reception from fans in Ahmedabad last week and the booing continued when the team squared off against Sunrisers Hyderabad in an away fixture.

While several cricketers – including Ravichandran Ashwin – backed Hardik in the whole episode, Mumbai Indians’ seasoned campaigner Piyush Chawla also claims on the eve of the game that Hardik wasn’t worried about the crowd behaviour. However, with their boos and remarks, the Mumbai crowd, which often refers to itself as the 12th man of the Mumbai Paltan, made it clear that Rohit will forever remain their captain.

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As one walked towards the venue a couple of hours before the match, the street vendors selling ‘only Rohit’ jerseys were hard to miss. “Rohit is our captain, and his jerseys are in great demand,” a vendor selling those jerseys for ‘anywhere between Rs 350 to 400’ said. “Several fans have travelled from nooks and corners of Maharashtra to support Rohit and there are no jerseys for Hardik,” he added with a smile.

Things were no different outside Gate No. 3 on the Marine Lines as hundreds of fans queued up near the entrance donning Rohit jerseys. “For us, Rohit will always be the captain,” a fan said.

However, all those cheers for the India captain were short-lived as Rohit lasted for a solitary delivery and was caught behind by Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson off Trent Boult. And with the dismissal, Rohit equalled the dubious record for most ducks in the IPL and levelled with Dinesh Karthik, who also has 17 scores of a duck.


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