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WATCH: Furious Rohit Sharma fan burns Mumbai Indians jersey after Hardik Pandya named captain

The 2024 IPL could well be Rohit Sharma's last as a player in the Mumbai Indians jersey after the popular franchise announced Hardik Pandya as its skipper on Friday.

WATCH Furious Rohit Sharma fan burns Mumbai Indians jersey after Hardik Pandya named captain snt
First Published Dec 16, 2023, 10:34 AM IST

Mumbai Indians on Friday appointed Hardik Pandya as their captain, replacing the highly successful Rohit Sharma, who had led the IPL team to five trophies. This decision by Mumbai Indians followed Hardik's recent return to the franchise after a notable trade from Gujarat Titans. Hardik had previously captained Gujarat Titans in the last two seasons.

Mumbai Indians, in an official statement, expressed that the leadership transition was a strategic move in line with their future plans. They acknowledged Rohit Sharma's outstanding service to the franchise and extended their gratitude.

Mumbai Indians share the title of the most successful IPL franchise with Chennai Super Kings, both having secured five titles each.

Also read: 'End of an era': Memes explode as Hardik Pandya takes over from Rohit Sharma as Mumbai Indians captain

Rohit Sharma, who recently led India to the ODI World Cup final, served as the captain of the franchise since 2013 when Mumbai Indians secured their first of five IPL trophies. Under Rohit's leadership, Mumbai Indians claimed the IPL title in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020. In the IPL 2023 season, Mumbai Indians successfully reached the playoffs.

The significant development also raises questions about Rohit's future in the shortest format, with fans expressing anger over Mumbai Indians move to replace him with Hardik Pandya. The franchise lost lakhs of followers on X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram following the announcement. Several fans also posted across social media urging other supporters to unfollow the Mumbai-based team.

One furious Rohit Sharma fan went to the extent of burning a Mumbai Indians jersey. The video, which has now gone viral on X, has sparked a massive reaction on the social media platform. "Will see this franchise go in dust. Problem is not change of captain, problem is you can't parachute a player and force him up on team and fans. No body from MI player posted when Hardik was bought back, no body posted when he is announced captain, that's tell a story," said one fan.

Another fan noted, "You just simply can't replace Rohit Sharma. He is the best captain."

Questions have also surfaced if the 2024 IPL season could well be Rohit Sharma's last as a player in the Mumbai Indians jersey. Rohit Sharma has consistently demonstrated unwavering loyalty, having captained Mumbai Indians in 11 editions and guiding them to five IPL trophies.

Looking ahead to the mega auctions in 2025, it is evident that Rohit is no longer part of Mumbai Indians' future plans. According to the IPL Governing Council's retention rules allowing four players (3 Indians and 1 overseas), it is expected that Mumbai Indians will likely retain Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah as the three Indian players, leaving one slot for a foreign recruit.

The upcoming scenario becomes intriguing if Rohit Sharma has a stellar IPL performance and follows it with a satisfying T20 World Cup, potentially leading the national team.

Complicating matters further, Hardik Pandya, having captained India in numerous T20s post the 2022 T20 World Cup, desires to continue leading the national team in the shortest format.

While Rohit has consistently expressed his commitment to Mumbai Indians, stating he would not play for any other franchise, the landscape may shift if an IPL franchise offers him an enticing deal to serve as the mentor-cum-captain of the team.

In the cutthroat world of franchise cricket, the absence of a statement from one of the greatest IPL captains in a mundane press release issued by Mumbai Indians was glaring. Despite this, the global head of coaching, Mahela Jayawardene, did extend thanks to Rohit for his significant contributions.

Also read: WATCH: Mumbai Indians' 'forever our captain' tribute to Rohit Sharma after naming Hardik Pandya as skipper

Merely 48 hours earlier, Rohit had articulated his motivation to make another attempt at the ultimate global prize on his Instagram page. Given his heartfelt message to fans, it seems reasonable to expect that the Indian skipper could have outlined his future plans in the IPL.

The past three IPL seasons have posed challenges for Mumbai Indians, with Hardik Pandya's fitness concerns in 2021, Jasprit Bumrah contending with a back injury, and a substantial investment in Jofra Archer that failed to yield the expected returns.

The challenges faced by Mumbai Indians, including Hardik Pandya's fitness concerns, Jasprit Bumrah's back injury, and the underwhelming performance of the investment in Jofra Archer, undoubtedly had an impact on Rohit Sharma's statistics as the MI skipper.

However, without explicit communication from Rohit, it remains challenging to assess the nature of discussions between the franchise and one of its in-house legends. Observers of developments at MI questioned why Rohit wasn't afforded the opportunity to step down on his own terms.

With Hardik Pandya taking on the role of captaincy, it could potentially liberate Rohit, the batsman, allowing him to focus solely on his prowess as the 'Hit Man.' If he retains the motivation, there's speculation that we might witness him playing another season, albeit donning a different jersey.

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