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‘Hardik Pandya will be booed louder in Mumbai. No one expected him to replace Rohit Sharma as MI captain’: Manoj Tiwary

MI captain Hardik Pandya is likely to get booed the loudest at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, feels former India cricketer Manoj Tiwary.

If you have to pick the most loyal fan bases in IPL, then the Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, and Royal Challengers Bengaluru would probably rank among the top three. It’s a nightmare to face MI at Wankhede Stadium, CSK in Chepauk and RCB at the Chinnaswamy. But while the support for the team is likely to be similar, MI’s new captain Hardik Pandya might get a different treatment this time around.

Mumbai Indians’ captain Hardik Pandya and his teammate Rohit Sharma (L)(AFP)

Former India batter, Manoj Tiwary believes Hardik could be booed the loudest when he takes the field as the MI skipper at Wankhede Stadium. And the reason for that is the franchise’s decision to remove Rohit Sharma as captain and appoint Hardik. Rohit is IPL’s joint-most successful captain along with MS Dhoni. Both Rohit and Dhoni have won five titles each. But for the last three years, Rohit and MI’s performance was not up to the mark.

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But despite that, nobody really imagined that Rohit would be replaced as the captain and that too by Hardik who was the Gujarat Titans captain till the last edition. Ever since MI made their decision public, social media has been abuzz. Hardik was booed at his home ground in Ahmedabad during the MI vs GT encounter.

“…you have to see how he gets welcomed here in Mumbai because I think he is going to get booed a bit louder here…Because as a fan, Mumbai fan or a Rohit Sharma fan, nobody expected that captaincy will be given to Hardik,” Tiwary told PTI Videos in an interview.

Hardik’s MI captaincy debut did not according to plans as the five-time winners lost to last year’s run-up GT. They have their next match against the Sunirsers Hyderabad but their first home game will be against the Rajasthan Royals on April 1.

“And despite Rohit giving five trophies to Mumbai Indians, he has to lose the captaincy. I don’t know what are the reasons but I think it has not gone down well with the fans. And that is the reaction which you see on the field,” he explained. Tiwary is, however, impressed with how Pandya has dealt with fan backlash.”…knowing him, whatever I have been observing of late through television, that despite getting booed, he kept his calm, he kept his nerve, which is the sign of a good temperament,” he said.

The 38-year-old said Pandya will have to cut out the noise and focus on his performance so that he is in good shape for the T20 World Cup starting June 1 in the Americas.

“I believe even if he was not booed, he has to perform well to get into the Indian team to play the World Cup. Because it is important for all the players to perform well and be fit as well to be available for selection. And him being the number one all-rounder…obviously he has to be in form and to be in form he has to perform,” he said.


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