Mumbai: Mumbai Indians (MI) head coach Mark Boucher opened up on removing Rohit Sharma as captain, saying the franchise wants the star batter to add more value to the team as a batter and enjoy his game.
Mumbai Indians (MI), the five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions, announced in December that talismanic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who returned to the Mumbai franchise after guiding the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in its debut season and the final in the subsequent edition, will be leading the team in the 2024 edition of the league.
This meant removing Rohit as the skipper, who had led the franchise to five titles since starting his reign in 2013.
In November last year, Pandya moved back from Gujarat Titans (GT) to his former franchise as part of a trade between both franchises. The star all-rounder spent two momentous years with GT, spearheading their campaign in the cash-rich league with aplomb. In GT’s debut season in 2022, Hardik got them off to a fairytale start, with the team lifting the coveted trophy.
They finished runners-up in their second season after a last-ball defeat to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a thrilling final earlier this year.
Boucher said since the last couple of seasons, Rohit has not had a great time as a batter while faring decently as the skipper.
With the India skipper still struggling to rediscover his best batting form in the IPL, his franchise clarified that it still wants him to be around and add value to the team as a player and enjoy his batting without the burden of captaincy.
“He will also get to spend more time with his family,” coach Boucher added.
“Rohit has not had the best couple of seasons of late with the bat, but he has done well as a captain,” Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on the ‘Banter With The Boys’ podcast.
“One thing I picked up with Ro, as well, who is a fantastic guy – he has been captaining for ages and he has done really well for Mumbai Indians, and India as well – is that he walks into a place and there are just cameras, and he is so busy. Speaking with the Mumbai Indians group, we thought that this is an opportunity to step in for his last year or so,” the former Protea international said.
“We still want him as a player because we believe he still has a great value to add, and just go out and enjoy it, without the hype of being a captain. He is still going to captain India, that hype is going to be there. But when he steps into the IPL maybe just taking that extra bit of pressure off him as a captain, maybe we get the best out of Rohit Sharma,” he added.
“We see him playing with a nice smile on his face, spending a bit of time with the beautiful family he has got. There is no easy way to do it,” he added.