Cricket commentator and former India player Aakash Chopra feels that Hardik Pandya as a captain is not a “finished product”.
Hardik made a return to the five-time champions in a trade deal between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. While many expected Hardik to play under Rohit’s captaincy, MI’s decision to hand the captaincy to the 30-year-old all-rounder earlier this week caught many by surprise.
While hosting JioCinema’s daily sports show ‘#AAKASHVANI’, Aakash gave his take on Pandya’s appointment and said, “It’s my understanding and not some inside news. When Hardik (Pandya) decided to move from Gujarat, captaincy may have been a part of the deal. This decision would have been definitely communicated to Rohit Sharma as well.”
“Rohit would have also been briefed about Mumbai Indians’ future plans. I feel Ashish Nehra had a tremendous role in making Hardik the captain he was at Gujarat Titans. So, Mumbai’s job is cut out. They have to provide inputs at a different level for Hardik to replicate them on the field, because I don’t think Hardik, as a captain, is a finished product yet,” Aakash added.
He further went on to and Rohit’s contribution as the leader of the side calling him a legend and praising the efforts he put in for the past 10 years.
“Rohit is a legend. It’s an end of an era. He led the team for 10 years and won five IPL titles. He worked a lot for this and also earned a lot of fame. But there comes a time when you start thinking about the future. To be fair, the last two years have been average for MI, considering the high standards they have set for themselves,” Aakash said.
“While it’s extremely important to give someone a chance at the right time, it’s even more critical to decide when to let go of someone. There has been talk on social media that Rohit should have been allowed to leave on his own terms, or may be allowed to lead MI in one match before Hardik was asked to take over. I personally don’t subscribe to it. There is no one bigger than a team,” Aakash added.
Rohit is yet to react to Pandya’s appointment as MI skipper.