Hardik Pandya takes charge as the new captain of Mumbai Indians

The Indian Premier League 2024 auction is just a few days away as all ten franchises are eager to build their squad ahead of the 17th edition of the tournament. Ahead of the much-awaited season, five-time champions Mumbai Indian have announced a change in leadership. All-rounder Hardik Pandya has replaced Rohit Sharma as the captain of the side.

Notably, Hardik has returned to MI after two years through a player trade with Gujarat Titans. The all-rounder led Gujarat to a title victory in their debut season in 2022 with stellar performances with both bat and ball. He further led them to the second consecutive final in the 2023 season as well. They eventually lost to Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling last-ball finish.

However, in a shocking move ahead of the auction, Pandya was acquired by MI through a player trade. Mumbai Indians paid INR 15 crore to Gujarat and an undisclosed transfer fee. The move meant that the 30-year-old returned to the franchise which showed trust in him in his formative years.

Since then, there was no looking back for the all-rounder. He played a pivotal role in four title victories for Mumbai from 2015 to 2020. However, after an off season in 2021, he was released by MI ahead of the 2022 mega auction.

The Gujarat-born cricketer was further signed up by Gujarat ahead of the 2022 season for INR 15 Crore. Pandya was also appointed the captain of the newly formed franchise where he tasted massive success.

Rohit Sharma’s glorious years as Mumbai Indians captain

Meanwhile, Pandya’s succession as the captain of MI is a major move by the franchise. Bach then, it was Rohit Sharma who brought a drastic change in their fortunes in the 2013 season after a disastrous first-half in the edition. Led by Ricky Ponting, Mumbai had lost three of their first six matches in 2013. Mumbai Indians brought a change in the leadership midway through the season by appointing Rohit as the captain from the seventh game onwards.

The move brought a paradigm shift in Mumbai’s IPL history. They went on to win their first trophy by beating two-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the final. There was no looking back for MI from there onwards as they went on to add five IPL trophies to their cabinet within eight years of Rohit’s leadership.

In the 2023 season as well, the 36-year-old led a young side to Qualifier 2 in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and with an injury-marred Jofra Archer. With the return of Pandya and Bumrah ahead of IPL 2024, Mumbai is once again looking a formidable side. They will now be eyeing to script their sixth glorious chapter of their illustrious IPL history.