Sunil Gavaskar said that Mumbai Indians replacing Rohit Sharma as captain for Hardik Pandya was done because the franchise tend to always make their decisions with an eye on the future.
“Look they have always thought about the future of the franchise. Rohit Sharma is already 36 years old and also faces immense pressure being the captain of India for all three formats. They have tried to reduce some of that burden and give that responsibility to a young player like Hardik Pandya who has led a new franchise like the Gujarat Indians to back to back finals and even won the title. This is the thought behind MI for this change,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.
The 74-year-old also opined that relieving Rohit from the captaincy would also benefit the player and the franchise. “Handing Hardik the captaincy is only going to benefit the Mumbai Indians. They have now given the freedom to Rohit to go and express himself freely at the top of the order. Hardik can then come at No.3 or No.5 and help them post totals of 200-plus,” he added.
A week ago, MI coach Mark Boucher had also termed the change in leadership as a ‘cricketing decision.’ “I think it was purely a cricketing decision. We saw the window period to get Hardik back as a player. For me it’s a transition phase. A lot of people don’t understand in India, people get quite emotional. But you know you take the emotions away from it. I think it’s just more of a cricketing decision that was made and I do think it is going to bring the best out of Rohit as a person as a player. Just let him go out and enjoy and score some good runs,” Boucher said on the Smash Sports podcast.
Last year, Pandya had made his return to the Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans in what has gone down as one of the biggest Indian Premier League transfers.