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Hardik Pandya installs temple in dressing room, Mark Boucher breaks coconut to celebrate MI homecoming ahead of IPL 2024

Hardik Pandya set up a temple in the Mumbai Indians and Mark Boucher embraced the Indian culture wholeheartedly.

Hardik Pandya is gearing up for his Mumbai Indians homecoming as the star India all-rounder sought blessings from the almighty by installing a temple inside the dressing room. The video shared by the MI on their X handle captured Hardik entering the change room, placing a garland and a box of sweets next to it before head coach Mark Boucher took over and embraced the Indian culture. The former South Africa wicketkeeper took a coconut and smashed it on to the ground to celebrate Hardik’s return to the franchise.

Hardik Pandya and Mark Boucher are ready for IPL 2024. (Mumbai Indians Screengrab)

After captaining Gujarat Titans to consecutive IPL finals in 2022 and 2023 – and even lifting the trophy in his maiden season as captain, Hardik returns to the franchise where he began his IPL career back in 2015. And now, as he gears up to end MI’s wait for an IPL trophy, the captain is leaving no stone in ensuring he is back to his best when the league comes knocking on March 22.

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IPL 2024 promises to be a true test of Pandya’s character, fitness and of course captaincy. The India all-rounder injured his ankle during India’s World Cup match against Bangladesh and has been out of action ever since. He did turn up to play a couple of games at the DY Patil tournament but those were exhibition matches that served its purpose of giving Hardik the warm-up and game time he needed ahead of IPL.

Hardik the captain

But his biggest challenge will be captaining the team he represented so many years for as a player. In December, MI announced that Hardik will replace Rohit Sharma as captain of the Mumbai Indians and although the change in guard led to a lot of outside noise, it is what it is. Hardik will be leading an MI unit that wears a fresh look with the influx of several promising and talented youngsters, but at the same time, the experienced hands of Rohit, Suryakumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.


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