Former Team India coach Ravi Shastri offered his backing to Hardik Pandya amid the criticism he faced during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Ravi Shastri stated that the captaincy transition could have been better managed with clearer communication.

The 30-year-old player was traded from the Gujarat Titans (GT) to the Mumbai Indians (MI), where he took over the captaincy from Rohit Sharma. This decision sparked a significant backlash among fans of the franchise, given Rohit’s leadership in securing five IPL titles.

The fans of MI heavily booed Hardik during their first IPL 2024 match against the Gujarat Titans. This negative reception continued in subsequent matches, including their first home game against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium on April 1.

Hardik Pandya’s captaincy debut for the Mumbai Indians took a dismal turn with three consecutive losses, leaving the team at the bottom of the points table. The MI team remains the only team without a win in the ongoing season among the ten competing teams.

Wanted Hardik Pandya As Captain – Ravi Shastri

Speaking on Star Sports’ ‘Cricket Live Show’, Ravi Shastri emphasized the distinction between franchise cricket and the Indian cricket team. Shastri suggested that franchises have the right to choose their captain. However, he opined that the MI owners could have done a better job with regard to clarity and communication.

“This is not the Indian cricket team that’s playing. This is franchise cricket. They have paid top dollar. They are the bosses. It’s their entitlement as to who they want as captain. Okay, where I think this could have been handled better was with more clarity in communication,” Shastri said.

“If you wanted Hardik Pandya as captain, then say that we are looking at the future. We are looking to build. Rohit has done a fabulous job, as everyone knows, and we want him to help out Hardik in these next three years as the team progresses,” he added.

Hardik Pandya’s performance has been inconsistent, scoring 69 runs at an average of 23 with a strike rate of 153.33. He conceded 76 runs with one wicket at an economy rate of almost 11. His captaincy, particularly the limited use of Jasprit Bumrah in the powerplay, has also faced scrutiny.

Win Matches, And Things Will Change – Ravi Shastri

Also read: Rohit Sharma’s influence blamed by Adam Gilchrist for Hardik Pandya getting booed in IPL

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