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Hardik Pandya’s ‘…no one will forget’ promise for IPL 2024 after replacing Rohit Sharma as MI captain

Hardik Pandya was named as MI’s captain, replacing Rohit Sharma. How will it pan out in IPL 2024?

Hardik Pandya is no stranger to the spotlight. There is always a buzz whenever he walks out to the cricket field, be it for India or in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In his 8-year-long international career, he has already had his fair share of injury setbacks. But he has always made sure to come back stronger. Something similar is expected from him in the upcoming IPL 2024 which starts next Friday.

Rohit Sharma (L) and Hardik Pandya(HT Photo)

However, the spotlight on Pandya would be different this time. And his comeback after five months is not the only reason. In fact, the bigger reason is his return to Mumbai Indians and that too as a captain. The swashbuckling all-rounder who started his IPL career with MI back in 2015, will be returning to the franchise after spending two successful seasons at the Gujarat Titans.

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Pandya led GT to their maiden IPL title on the first attempt in IPL 2022 and took them to the finals last year. But in dramatic circumstances before the auction ahead of this year’s IPL, Pandya was traded to MI. In an even more eye-brow-raising move, he was named as MI’s captain, replacing Rohit Sharma, IPL’s joint-most successful captain with five titles to his name.

Rohit is still with MI but he will play only as a player for the the first time in more than a decade. To make matters more complex, Pandya still plays under Rohit’s captaincy in Team India. How will Pandya and Rohit react to this? How will the MI fans see this move?

Pandya knows he has a job on his hands. And therefore, he wants to play a brand of cricket that no one will forget.

“The feeling of wearing this colour is very special for me. The journey started here, coming back home and playing is always going to be special,” said Pandya in a video posted by the franchise on social media.

“We will make sure we will play a brand of cricket which all will be proud of and at the same point of time it’s going to be a ride no one will forget.”

Pandya was welcomed back with open arms by MI head coach Mark Boucher, who backed him to do well.

“He (Pandya) certainly knows the changing room better than what I do. It’s sort of homecoming for a couple of people.

“He has fitted in really well and is excited for the season. We look forward to having him back and winning some games for Mumbai Indians again,” told Boucher in another MI video.

“At the start of each season, everyone is very excited. There are a couple of new faces around, so there’s a little bit of nerves as well. We would like to build up to the start of the season.”

MI will open their IPL campaign against GT in Ahmedabad on March 24.


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