The comeback of Hardik Pandya to the Mumbai Indians has been a topic of ongoing discussion. The all-rounder’s decision to switch to the IPL’s most successful franchise last month raised many eyebrows. After captaining a team to two consecutive IPL finals, winning one, the move left fans speculating about the motives behind this shift. Furthermore, questions arose about Hardik’s role now that he is back with the team where his professional journey began in 2015. The unexpected announcement by MI on Friday, appointing Hardik as the captain, replacing Rohit Sharma after his 11-season leadership, added another layer to the intrigue.
Sunil Gavaskar, the former Indian captain, found the move ‘shocking,’ especially considering Hardik’s success with the Gujarat Titans. In his debut season as captain, Hardik guided GT to an IPL title last year and secured the runner-up position this year, losing a close contest to the Chennai Super Kings. The combination of Hardik and Ashish Nehra proved to be a winning formula, making Pandya’s departure surprising. Gavaskar suggests that the reason behind Hardik’s switch is something only he can explain, but it might be linked to Pandya’s growing prominence as a player.
Gavaskar commented on the ongoing rumors about Hardik’s transfer to Mumbai Indians, emphasizing that it came as a shock since Pandya had led the Gujarat team to consecutive finals, winning one title, and appeared well-established there. The former captain acknowledged that when a successful captain decides to leave a thriving franchise, the reasons may go beyond the understanding of the common fan. He noted that Pandya, initially picked by Mumbai Indians as a raw talent, had now become a global cricket sensation.
Hardik, already serving as India’s unofficial T20I captain, assumes the role of MI captain, dispelling reports of Rohit Sharma’s return to lead the team in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Reports suggest that Pandya set a condition for his return – captaincy or nothing. Consequently, MI recognized the need for a change in leadership, especially as the five-time champions have not secured the title in the last three seasons. Gavaskar also believes that another contributing factor to Hardik’s return is the strong emotional connection he has always had with Mumbai Indians.
Despite ongoing speculation about the reasons behind his decision, Gavaskar emphasized that Pandya’s affinity for Mumbai Indians is no secret. This choice underscores the fantastic family atmosphere created by the franchise, where even those who have departed only have positive things to say about their experience with Mumbai Indians.