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‘Mumbai Indians did not…’: Harbhajan Singh explains why Hardik Pandya failed as captain | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The Mumbai Indians’ (MI) decision to reinstate all-rounder Hardik Pandya as captain backfired, according to former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, who added that the team did not perform as a cohesive unit.
For the five-time winners MI, the current Indian Premier League (IPL) season was one to forget. After a two-year tenure with Gujarat Titans (GT), where Pandya led the team to the title in their first season in 2022, MI brought Pandya back.
However, the all-rounder and the team faced intense reaction on social media when Rohit Sharma was replaced as captain.
With four wins, ten losses, and eight points, MI ended at the bottom of the standings and Pandya was jeered in stadiums around India during their matches. Pandya, who was instrumental in the team’s success from 2015 to 21, was unable to produce game-winning efforts.
Regarding MI’s choice to reinstate Pandya, Harbhajan told ANI that it was a mistake that caused the team to become disunified. Additionally, he believed that a year later, this choice may have been made. But he asserted that Hardik is not at fault.
“MI has a big team. I have played for it. The management is great and runs the team well. But this decision has backfired. Maybe the thinking was to look for the future. It seems that it did not sit well with the team as they did not look united. It was bound to happen. It pains me to see such a big team, an old team of mine face such poor results. Maybe the timing of the decision was not right. It could have been better had this decision been taken an year later. It is not Hardik’s fault, he was captaining really well in GT. The duty of the senior players is to keep players united no matter who is the captain. Captains come and go. They did not play like a team,” said Harbhajan to ANI.
Pandya amassed 216 runs at an average of 18.00 and a strike rate of 143.04 in 14 games, with a career-high score of 46. In addition, he claimed 11 wickets at a dismal 35.18 average and a 10.75 economy rate.
Fans, however, will anticipate seeing a different Pandya in the blue jersey for India when the ICC T20 World Cup begins on June 1 in the USA and the West Indies. Vice-captain Pandya, who is an all-rounder with a strong record in white-ball international cricket and a penchant to perform well under pressure, will be an important component of Rohit’s Team India.
India is paired with co-hosts the United States of America, Ireland, Canada, and bitter rivals Pakistan in Group A of the ICC competition.
India’s T20 World Cup campaign will kick off on June 5 against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York. Then, on June 9, the team will play their main match against Pakistan at the same stadium. India’s next matches are against the USA on June 12 and Canada on June 15, respectively.
(With ANI inputs)

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