‘The big debate is whether Rohit Sharma…’: Former England skipper on Hardik Pandya vs Mumbai Indians fans | Cricket News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The decision to appoint Hardik Pandya as skipper of the Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2024 has sparked significant controversy, drawing backlash from both experts and fans.
Pandya’s elevation to captaincy marked the end of Rohit Sharma‘s illustrious ten-year tenure at the helm, following his trade from the Gujarat Titans to the Mumbai franchise.
However, the transition has been marred by dissent, with Pandya facing booing from the crowd in the team’s first three matches, including a home game at Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede Stadium.Former England captain Michael Vaughan expressed astonishment at the Indian fanbase’s reaction, deeming it “staggering” to witness one of their own players being booed.
Vaughan acknowledged the expected reaction when Pandya faced his former team, the Gujarat Titans, but found the booing at subsequent matches perplexing, including at the Wankhede Stadium.

“The big debate is whether Rohit Sharma will end up back as captain. That has caused a lot of drama here in India. The booing… I have to say, the Indian crowd just loves cricket. I have never heard them boo. I’ve certainly never heard them boo one of their own. He got the booing when he played at (Ahmedabad) against the Gujarat Titans. He left them and joined Mumbai. He took them to a title. So I get that in a pantomime kind of way.”

“But for him to go to Hyderabad and get booed and then come to Wankhede and get booed by the Mumbai Indians fans while he is playing for them, I’m staggered by it. I have never seen the Indian crowd boo one of their own. It’s remarkable,” Vaughan said on the Club Prairie Fire podcast with former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist echoed Vaughan’s sentiments, highlighting the unique intensity within IPL fan bases. He emphasized Rohit Sharma’s enduring popularity and support, attributing the controversy to the dramatic nature of the IPL.

“It shows you the status that Rohit Sharma has in the game there. The mysterious manner with which it all played out initially, the pace with which it happened, everyone was stunned with Mumbai getting Hardik Pandya away from Gujarat and then Rohit relinquishing captaincy. It’s an odd one. But this is the nature of the beast in the IPL. The tribalism and intensity within fan bases. It’s hard to replicate anywhere else with that level of intensity,” Gilchrist explained.
As the Mumbai Indians navigate through turbulent waters, the controversy surrounding Pandya’s captaincy adds an intriguing subplot to the ongoing IPL season, highlighting the fervent passion and loyalty of cricket fans in India.


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