Mumbai Indians have announced that Hardik Pandya will be their new captain for the IPL 2024 season, replacing Rohit Sharma, who led the franchise to five IPL titles in a decade. Rohit, who is the joint-most-successful captain in the IPL history along with MS Dhoni, will continue to play for Mumbai as a batsman.
The decision to appoint Hardik as the captain was made to keep the team “future-ready”, according to Mahela Jayawardene, Mumbai Indians global head of performance. He said that Mumbai have always had exceptional leaders who have contributed to the team’s success and also prepared the team for the future. He thanked Rohit for his extraordinary leadership and welcomed Hardik as the new captain.
Hardik, who started his IPL career with Mumbai Indians in 2015, had moved to Gujarat Titans in 2021 and led them to a title and a runners-up finish in two seasons. He was traded back to Mumbai ahead of the 2023 season, as the franchise had identified him as Rohit’s successor.
Rohit, who took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting in 2013, has been one of the most successful captains in the IPL history. He led Mumbai to five IPL trophies in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, making them the most successful team in the tournament. He also holds the record for the most matches (163) and most wins (91) as a captain in the IPL and the Champions League T20.
However, Mumbai Indians performance has dipped in the last three seasons, as they failed to make the playoffs in 2021 and 2022, and lost to Titans in the second Qualifier in 2023.
It is not clear whether the captaincy change at Mumbai will have any impact on India’s T20I team. Rohit is currently India’s all-format captain, but has not played a T20I since the 2022 T20 World Cup. Hardik has been India’s T20I captain in his absence, but is currently recovering from an ankle injury. Suryakumar Yadav, another Mumbai player, led India in the recent T20I series in South Africa.