Hardik Pandya takes helm as Mumbai Indians captain

Mumbai Indians said the change in leadership was a part of their future planning

Hardik Pandya takes helm as Mumbai Indians captain

Hardik Pandya celebrates after taking the wicket of Afghanistan’s Azmatullah Omarzai during the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match against Afghanistan at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on October 11, 2023. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

MUMBAI INDIANS have appointed star all-rounder Hardik Pandya to lead in next year’s Indian Premier League season, replacing all-format India captain Rohit Sharma, who led the franchise to five title wins.

Pandya, 30, returned to his former franchise Mumbai only last month in a high-profile trade after a successful two-year stint with Gujarat Titans.

Mumbai Indians said the change in leadership was a part of their future planning and thanked Rohit, the joint-most-successful captain in the tournament’s history alongside Chennai Super Kings’ M S Dhoni.

“It is part of legacy building and staying true to the MI philosophy of being future-ready,” Mahela Jayawardene, Mumbai’s global head of performance, said in a statement late Friday (15).

“It is in keeping with this philosophy that Hardik Pandya will assume captaincy of Mumbai Indians for the IPL 2024 season.”

Jayawardene expressed gratitude to Rohit, 36, for his “exceptional leadership” since taking the reins in 2013.

“His leadership has not only brought unparalleled success to the team but has also solidified his place as one of the finest captains in the history of the IPL,” he said.

Rohit led Mumbai 163 times in the IPL and the Champions League T20, winning 91 games, drawing four and losing 68.

But the last three seasons have been a disappointment for the franchise.

They failed to make the playoffs in 2021 and 2022, and departed the 2023 tournament knockout with a loss to Titans in the second qualifier.

Rohit is currently India’s all-format captain, but has not played a T20 international since a semi-final defeat at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

Pandya has led India in 13 of their last 25 T20Is but is currently out of action with an ankle injury sustained during this year’s ODI World Cup.

Led by Rohit, hosts India lost the World Cup final to Australia after winning 10 games on the trot.