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Rohit Sharma skipped practice, ‘stayed back in Mumbai’ as Hardik-led MI set to travel to Ahmedabad for IPL opener vs GT

IPL 2024: Rohit Sharma did not take part in MI’s first practice game, which took place behind closed doors in Mumbai before their departure for Ahmedabad.

India captain Rohit Sharma has decided to stay back in Mumbai to complete a special pre-season training programme. The five-time champions will start their IPL 2024 campaign against last year’s runner-up Gujarat Titans on Sunday. Rohit will be available for that match.

Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of IPL 2024(MI/X)

Rohit did not take part in MI’s first intra-squad practice game, which took place behind closed doors on Wednesday in Mumbai before their departure for Ahmedabad.

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“Rohit Sharma who joined the squad on Monday, is on a customized training program that involves simulated net sessions, mobility and strength and conditioning sessions, for the past 3 days, hence stayed back in Mumbai to focus on his pre-season program. Rohit did not take part in the practice game,” said MI in an official release.

MI held all of their practice sessions in Mumbai behind closed doors.

Rohit’s workload has to be carefully managed as the 36-year-old is coming off a rigorous five-match Test series against England where he led India to a 4-1 series win.

The 17th season of IPL will be slightly different for Rohit. He is no longer the MI captain – the first time in over a decade. He will also become the first sitting Indian captain to play under another Indian cricketer in the IPL. MI will be captained by Hardik Pandya this year, who made his IPL debut under Rohit in 2015.

In November last year, Pandya moved back from Gujarat Titans (GT) to his former franchise as part of a trade between both franchises. The star all-rounder spent two momentous years with GT, spearheading their campaign in the cash-rich league with aplomb. In GT’s debut season in 2022, Hardik got them off to a fairytale start, with the team lifting the coveted trophy.

Hardik and Rohit hug it out before IPL 2024

There has been a lot of talk around Hardik’s elevation as the MI captain replacing Rohit with some reports even suggesting a rift between the two stars of Indian cricket. During their first meeting in the MI nets, however, things were different. There was no sign of any tension whatsoever.

Hardik approached Rohit and hugged the Indian captain before the two had a good laugh.

This heartwarming gesture between these two star players comes when fans of both players are at loggerheads on social media, accusing the team of betraying the five-time IPL-winning captain by removing him from the post despite his contributions. During the recent press conference organised by the team ahead of the season, Pandya did not answer when asked by media about a so-called “captaincy clause” in his MI contract. Even the head coach, Mark Boucher maintained a silence on being asked about the reason to remove Rohit from captaincy, adding more fire to fan wars and rumour-mongering on social media.

In February, Boucher had said that Rohit was removed from captaincy to help him play with more freedom as a batter after a few disappointing IPL seasons with the bat.


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