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Hardik Pandya: ‘They don’t buy into that’: AB de Villiers critiques Hardik Pandya’s captaincy style at Mumbai Indians

NEW DELHI: Mumbai Indians suffered another setback in their IPL 2024 campaign, losing to Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens for their ninth defeat of the season. Following the defeat, former South African great AB de Villiers offered a critical assessment of Hardik Pandya‘s captaincy at the franchise.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the former South African batter expressed concerns about Pandya’s leadership style, suggesting it lacked genuineness.
De Villiers remarked, “The captaincy style of Hardik Pandya is quite bravado. It’s ego-driven in a way, chest out. I don’t think how he walks on the field is always genuine, but he has decided that is his way of captaincy. Almost like MS (Dhoni). Cool, calm, collective, always got your chest out.”Citing his own experiences playing under Graeme Smith‘s leadership, de Villiers emphasized the importance of authenticity in leadership, particularly when working with experienced players. He recalled Smith’s selfless approach to leadership, contrasting it with Pandya’s more assertive style.
“When you play with a lot of experienced players, guys who have been around for ages, they don’t buy into that. It worked at GT, where it was a younger team. Sometimes, inexperienced players love to follow that kind of leadership,” de Villiers explained.

“Now, there’s Rohit (Sharma), there’s (Jasprit) Bumrah. They go like, ‘All we need you to be is calm. Give us a bit of input on how to win matches. We don’t need the bravado’,” de Villiers added.
Despite his critique, de Villiers clarified that he admired Pandya’s on-field abilities and respected his approach to the game. He acknowledged that while Pandya’s leadership style may not align with everyone’s preferences, it reflected his own beliefs and motivations.
“I’m not having a go at Hardik. I love watching him play. I love him putting out his chest because I was like that,” de Villiers concluded. “I believed that as a batter, sometimes, you’ve got to fake it to make it.”

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