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Mark Boucher Explains Decision to Appoint Hardik as Mumbai Indians Captain

Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher claimed the team sought to relieve Rohit Sharma, who had captained the team since 2013, by handing the captaincy to Hardik Pandya before IPL 2024.

Boucher noted on the Banter With The Boys podcast, “[Rohit] has not had the best couple of seasons with the bat, but he has done well as a captain.” I noticed with Ro, who is a great person who has captained for ages and done well for Mumbai Indians and India, that he enters into a location and is so busy with cameras. We discussed with the Mumbai Indians group about filling in for his final year.”

Boucher’s Perspective

Across the last two IPL seasons, Rohit scored 600 runs at an average of 20.00 and a strike rate of 126.84. Mumbai won their fifth title in 2020 but failed to make the playoffs in 2021 and 2022 and were knocked out in the second Qualifier in IPL 2023.

“We still want him as a player because we believe he still has a great value to add, and just go out and enjoy it, without the hype of being a captain,” Boucher. “He will captain India, therefore the excitement will continue. But taking that extra load off him as a captain in the IPL may bring out Rohit Sharma’s best.

“He plays with his beautiful family, smiling. No simple solution.”

Boucher’s Perspective

Hardik’s Return: Strategic Move

Mumbai made Hardik captain before the December auction after buying him back from Gujarat Titans in November for all cash. Hardik led Titans to the 2022 IPL title and 2023 runners-up finish.

“We saw a window period to get Hardik back as a player,” Boucher. “He is a Mumbai Indians member. With another team, he won his first year as captain and finished second in his second. Excellent leadership qualities are also present.

Hardik’s Return

“Indians are emotional, but when you strip away the emotion, it’s just a cricketing choice. I hope it will bring Rohit out of his shell as a person and a player and let him enjoy and score runs.”

Boucher relished practicing with Jasprit Bumrah, who missed IPL 2023 with a back ailment. “Bumrah coming back strengthens us big way,” added he. “I thought, ‘this guy understands what he is doing’ when I saw him. He appears knowledgeable and team-oriented. I’m excited about that relationship.”

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