Hardik Pandya's MI captaincy future addressed by Boucher after 10th-place finish: 'Had lot of support in dressing room' | Crickit
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Hardik Pandya's MI captaincy future addressed by Boucher after 10th-place finish: 'Had lot of support in dressing room'

May 18, 2024 12:50 PM IST

Will Mumbai Indians retain Hardik Pandya as a captain or more so, as a player, for IPL 2025 season?

For the second time in three years, Mumbai Indians, the five-time champions in Indian Premier League (IPL), finished bottom of the table. On Friday, MI incurred their 10th loss in the ongoing season, losing to Lucknow Super Giants at home, at the Wankhede Stadium, thus ending their campaign on a disappointing note and leaving a lot of questions to be answered. One of those primary queries pertains to the future of Hardik Pandya, whether he would keep his captaincy position in the side, but moreover, whether he will be retained by the franchise for the next season.

Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium(AFP)
Mumbai Indians' captain Hardik Pandya plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium(AFP)

In 14 matches in IPL 2024, Hardik amassed 216 runs, including a 46-run maximum. The all-rounder's season began to fall apart quite early on, with an average of just 18 and a strike rate of 143.05. With the ball, he did pick up 11 wickets, but it came at an economy rate of 10.75, while also skipping bowling duties on a lot of matches in the opening half of the season.

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The likes of Virender Sehwag have already indicated that Hardik should not be retained by Mumbai Indians ahead of the mega auction for the 2025 IPL season, but head coach Mark Boucher remained tightlipped on the all-rounder's captaincy and his future in the franchise, he added that he garnered a lot of support from the dressing room.

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"With regards to my stuff, I'm not too sure where I'm going, to be honest. As I said, it's early days at the moment. A lot of people are emotional. There's probably going to be discussions about all of us. I don't think there's only one person. We're in a high-performance zone, and when you underperform, you need to get looked at," he added.

"So, the only thing I can do as a coach is give my best, precisely what I've done. I've got no regrets about what I've done here. Could I have done things better? We'll sit down and evaluate that, as we do with all the players as well," he stated.

The former South Africa cricketer, however, believes that despite a forgettable show in the IPL 2024, he backed Hardik to grow as a leader and gain knowledge from this experience.

"There's a lot of stuff going around him that clouds his thoughts now and again, which is also challenging for him as a leader. He certainly had a lot of support within our dressing room, and guys are trying to help him out, but it is tricky to go through as a player. It is what it is, and it will undoubtedly be a learning curve for him with his leadership growth. While times are tough now, some things will pass, and he'll be a tougher leader. So, some fantastic things are coming for Hardik Pandya as a leader," he added.

"He came into the season with little cricket behind him, so it would always be reasonably tough on him. We understood that as well. His bowling got a lot better as the season went along. Unfortunately, he didn't fire with the bat this season. He showed glimpses of what he can do," the MI head coach said.

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