Former India all-rounder Balvinder Singh Sandhu criticized the Mumbai Indians for the leadership controversy involving Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma. Balvinder Singh Sandhu stated that Hardik Pandya was inadvertently caught up in the captaincy chaos.

Upon his return to the franchise after a two-year hiatus, Hardik Pandya assumed the captaincy role, replacing the highly successful Rohit Sharma, who led the team to five IPL titles. This decision from MI sparked criticism from fans and cricketing circles alike.

Hardik, who led the Gujarat Titans to consecutive IPL finals, supposedly had a clause stipulating his return to MI only with the assurance of captaincy. However, neither Hardik nor MI confirmed this during the pre-season press conference, maintaining silence on the matter.

Mumbai Indians Head Coach, Mark Boucher, clarified that the decision was made to allow Rohit Sharma to play with more freedom following batting challenges in the IPL. However, some fans perceived this as a betrayal of Rohit by the team and Hardik Pandya.

The Mumbai Indians have suffered three successive losses in the IPL 2024, failing to secure their first victory. MI currently occupies the bottom of the table. Additionally, negative crowd reactions pose significant challenges for both the franchise and its leadership.

Simply Gone With The Flow – Balvinder Singh Sandhu

In his column for the Mid-Day, Balvinder Singh Sandhu criticized the Mumbai Indians’ decision-making process regarding the captaincy change.

“One would expect that such a pivotal decision as changing the captain would have been thoroughly deliberated upon by the owners in consultation with the professionally employed think tank of the Mumbai Indians. However, it appears that the professionals involved may have simply gone with the flow to appease the owners, rather than having the courage to provide them candid and forthright assessments,” Sandhu wrote.

After leaving MI, Pandya joined the Titans ahead of the 2022 auction, where he served as captain. During the all-rounder’s tenure, the Ahmedabad-based team secured the championship in their inaugural season in 2022 and finished as runners-up in 2023.

Imperative To Offer Honest Analysis – Balvinder Singh Sandhu

Balvinder Singh Sandhu emphasized the importance of providing candid assessments, particularly when contemplating replacing a successful captain like Rohit Sharma. Sandhu said that Rohit can also contribute to the team’s brand and fan base.

“As professionals, it is imperative to offer honest analysis of situations, especially when considering the replacement of a captain as accomplished as Rohit. It’s crucial to recognize the invaluable contributions of players like him who not only excel on the field but also serve as ambassadors for the team, bolstering its brand and fostering a dedicated fan base who invest their time and resources in supporting the team,” Sandhu added.

Pandya’s captaincy tenure has failed to sway the fortunes of the franchise, as evidenced by the persistent boos from fans across venues. The crowd’s disapproval remained unchanged despite attempts at intervention, leaving Pandya struggling to win over supporters.

The Mumbai-based franchise will face the Delhi Capitals in their next match at their home ground, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on Sunday, April 7.

Also read: Rohit Sharma fans torn apart for booing Hardik Pandya as Ravichandran Ashwin supports MI skipper

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