Mark Boucher's comments on Hardik Pandya after MI's IPL 2024 failure 'alarming': 'There will be fallouts', Finch certain | Crickit

Mark Boucher's comments on Hardik Pandya after MI's IPL 2024 failure 'alarming': 'There will be fallouts', Finch certain

May 23, 2024 04:38 PM IST

Mark Boucher's comments that boos from the crowd 'clouded Hardik Pandya's decision-making' is a matter of concern, feels Aaron Finch.

If Mumbai Indians fans were told last year that IPL 2024 was going to be their joint-worst season of all time, they would say 'Are you kidding?’ Sadly, their worst nightmare has come true. MI have endured some bad seasons and some really abysmal ones, finishing with the wooden spoon in 2022. But this season was a new low altogether for the five-time champions. Who would have thought that the outcome would be so severe with Hardik Pandya coming aboard and the team undergoing a leadership change?

Mumbai Indians coach Mark Boucher (R) and captain Hardik Pandya were all smiles at the beginning of IPL 2024(PTI)
Mumbai Indians coach Mark Boucher (R) and captain Hardik Pandya were all smiles at the beginning of IPL 2024(PTI)

Unlike the old adage, in MI's case, one can't say there isn't one thing on which you can put a finger and say, 'this is where it all went wrong'. Because it all boiled down to one factor only, which is Hardik replacing Rohit Sharma as the captain. The change in guard was not accepted at all by the public, and unfortunately, their rejection of Hardik affected him, which is why the captain, who at Gujarat Titans, had ridden the wave of high, came crashing down at MI. And head coach Mark Boucher's comments only authenticated the same when he felt 'sorry for Hardik'.

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"It wasn't great hearing all the boos. Certainly, I felt sorry for Hardik as well. It's never nice to go through something like that. Boucher said after MI's IPL 2024 campaign ended with a 10th defeat.

"There's a lot of stuff going on around him that maybe clouded his thoughts every now and again, which I said is tough for him as a leader as well. He certainly had a lot of support within our dressing room but it's a tough thing to go through as a player. There's a lot of sympathy for what he's going through. A lot of the stuff he is going through is, I think, uncalled for. It will certainly be a learning curve for Hardik as he grows in leadership."

Finch finds Boucher's comments odd

While Boucher's comments may have been in the best of Hardik's and MI's interest, it backfired. At least, in the eyes of Aaron Finch. In cricket, the worst that can happen is a player getting distracted with the outside noise, let alone the captain, let alone of a team that has reached the top five times. Finch, the former Australia captain finds Boucher's statements alarming, pointing out that is it the coach's responsibility to ensure he and his players are ready for any challenge that is thrown at them – be in conditions or crowd reactions.

"There will be a lot of fallouts. It was a really disappointing campaign. The one thing that alarmed me slightly was Mark Boucher saying that the off-field issues clouded Hardik Pandya's decision-making on the field. That's the coach's job that you are crystal clear going out to each game. You should be so well planned and prepared that you thought through every scenario possible. So when it's time, one of the moves you discuss is well and truly thought out," Finch said.

Boucher replaced Mahela Jayawardene as MI's head coach in September of 2022 after the former Sri Lanka captain was elevated to the role of global head of performance. However, the appointment has not yielded the best outcomes as in 2023, too; MI barely managed to qualify for the IPL Playoffs, which now appears a huge achievement in comparison to the forgettable season the franchise went through this year.

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